V.A.N. v. Parsons

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Stalking Protective Order
  • Date Filed: 12-05-2012
  • Case #: A150909
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Hadlock, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; and Sercombe, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

ORS 30.866 requires that evidence in support of a stalking order prove that the contact reveals an unequivocal threat that instills a fear of serious and physical injury from the speaker that is objectively likely to be followed by unlawful acts. Without other evidence, a threat to "confront" a person does not involve violence or other unlawful acts.

Parsons challenged the sufficiency of a permanent stalking order that was entered against him based on numerous text messages sent to V.A.N. over several months. The trial court found that V.A.N. felt physically threatened because Parsons knew where she lived, and in one of his last messages, Parsons threatens to “confront” V.A.N. at home and at work. At the hearing, Parsons moved to dismiss the case, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence under ORS 30.866, claiming (1) he was unaware that his contacts were unwanted, (2) the contacts did not instill fear of imminent and serious personal violence, (3) the contacts did not involve unequivocal threats likely to be followed up by unlawful acts, and (4) V.A.N.’s alarm was not objectively reasonable. The trial court denied the motion, and Parsons appealed. The Court of Appeals reversed based on State v. Rangel, holding that the dispositive requirement for a stalking order is that the contacts must involve unequivocal threats that are objectively likely to be followed up by unlawful acts, and the text messages in this case do not meet that standard. There is no evidence that Parsons’ threat to “confront” V.A.N. would involve violence or other “unlawful acts.”

Advanced Search