The New York Legal Assistance Group recently had a win in Family Court when, following trial on five Violation Petitions, the Court granted our client’s request to incarcerate the Respondent in absentia for willfully violating the Court’s orders. It is rare and of little precedent when Family Court proceeds in absentia, and sentences incarceration on civil violations of orders of protection with the Respondent.

NYLAG’s client sought a sentence of incarceration to be served consecutively, following the Court’s finding that Respondent willfully committed 26 crimes and family offenses in violation of an order of protection, including but not limited to Criminal Contempt, Stalking and Harassment. The Respondent was repeatedly absent from court and actively evaded service while continuing to violate the Petitioner’s order of protection, even after a warrant was issued for his arrest and he was brought to court and notified about the proceedings and the risk of incarceration. Respondent continued to fail to appear in court, and contacted the court admitting his knowledge of the proceedings, Petitioner requested to move to fact finding without Respondent being present, and her request was granted. After proceeding through fact finding, the court again moved ahead to the dispositional phase of the trial without Respondent. Finding that Respondent had knowledge of the proceeding and knowingly and voluntarily waived his right to be present, the court sentenced Respondent to 27 months in jail, to be served consecutively.