Wednesday, August 7, 2019
Court of Appeal:
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A finding of abuse by a husband against his wife does not necessitate issuance of a domestic violence restraining order, the Court of Appeal for this district declared yesterday.
Justice Judith Ashmann-Gerst wrote the opinion, which was not certified for publication. It affirms an order by Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Laura Hymowitz denying a DVRO sought by Roxana Villa-Serrano against her husband, Randy Richard Serrano.
Hymowitz found that there was “a long history of abuse” by each spouse toward the other—each had been arrested, on separate occasions, based on abusive conduct—but that there was “no basis for the issuance of a permanent restraining order.”
The denial was without prejudice. The commissioner told Villa-Serrano to come back to court if there were further problems.
Verbal Abuse Threat
According to the wife, Serrano “became verbally abusive” to her at a family Fourth of July party in 2018, accusing her of adultery and threatening her with harm. They separated the following day.
A week later, she recounted, he came to gym and stared at her while she was exercising, then came over and “became aggressive” when she disavowed knowledge of the whereabouts of her cell phone, being told by the owner of the gym he was not welcome to return there.
She alleged that the day after that—which was also the day she filed for a restraining order—Serrano put a tracking device on her car and while she and her minor son were in a drug store, was spotted in the alley, tight-fisted and discernibly angry; they fled in her car, with the husband following and attempting to cut her off several times.
At the hearing on Aug. 3, 2018, there was testimony from Villa-Serrano and the minor as to other episodes, and the gym owner also testified.
Ashmann-Gerst, in yesterday’s opinion affirming the denial of a DVRO, said:
“[E]ven if Roxana made a ‘facially adequate’ showing of abuse to justify the issuance of a DVRO, as she…contends, it does not necessarily follow that the trial court abused its discretion by denying the request. The issuance of a DVRO is discretionary…, and Roxana cites no authority for the proposition that a court is required to issue a DVRO if it makes any finding of abuse.”
The justice went on to say:
“…Roxana received a hearing and was permitted to testify and call witnesses. The facial sufficiency of her request is irrelevant.”
The case is Roxana V. v. Randy S., B293013.
Counsel on appeal were Glendale Noelle M. Halaby, for the wife, and Katherine Heath Donahue of Torrance and represented the wife and Katherine Heath Donahue and Jeffrey Lewis of Rolling Hills Estates for the husband.
On Sept. 21, 2018, Div. Two summarily denied Villa-Serrano’s petition for a writ of mandate, saying that she “has [an] adequate remedy by way of appeal.”
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