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Lynn v. Brown

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

January 12, 2017

ERIN LYNN, Petitioner-Appellee,
v.
ADRIAN BROWN, Respondent-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 10th Judicial Circuit, Peoria County, Illinois, Circuit No. 16-OP-48, Honorable Suzanne Patton, Judge, Presiding.

          Justice Schmidt specially concurred, with opinion. Justice McDade dissented, with opinion.

          OPINION

          CARTER, JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 Respondent, Adrian Brown, appeals from the trial court's entry of a plenary order of protection. Brown argues the court erred in entering the plenary order of protection because he was not allowed to present evidence at the hearing that led to the order. We affirm.

         ¶ 2 FACTS

         ¶ 3 On January 15, 2016, petitioner, Erin Lynn, filed a petition for an order of protection against respondent. The petition alleged that Lynn and Brown had a dating relationship and a child together. In the description of the incident that led to the petition, Lynn stated that Brown had sent aggressive and threatening text messages for approximately one week. Eventually, Lynn allowed Brown to have visitation with the parties' child provided that Brown ceased the aggressive behavior. When Brown arrived to retrieve the child, he and Lynn argued. The argument escalated and Brown forced Lynn to the ground. While Brown held Lynn in a choke hold, Brown instructed his friend to take the child to his vehicle. Lynn also alleged that Brown was abusive and she had ended her three-year relationship with Brown to protect the parties' child. Following the filing of the petition, the court entered an emergency order of protection against Brown.

         ¶ 4 On February 1, 2016, the court entered a plenary order of protection. In the written order, the court made the following findings: venue was proper; Brown had abused Lynn and/or the child; the conduct or actions of Brown, unless prohibited, will likely cause irreparable harm or continued abuse; and it was necessary to grant the requested relief to protect Lynn. The plenary order prohibited Brown from further acts or threats of abuse against Lynn and the child and ordered Brown to stay at least 300 feet away from Lynn and the child. The plenary order of protection was ordered to remain in effect until January 31, 2018. The order also documented that Lynn and Brown appeared in court at the time the order was entered. On the same date, the parties were ordered to participate in mediation to resolve visitation, scheduling, transportation and location issues. The mediation review was ordered for February 17, 2016.

         ¶ 5 On February 17, 2016, after the filing of the February 3, 2016, notice of appeal, the parties entered an agreed order for visitation. The order provided for three visitations per week and included overnight stays. The order stated that Frank Carrillo would transport the child for parenting time, and the parties agreed to communicate through Carrillo. The parties also agreed to share parenting time on major holidays. The visitation agreement and order of February 17, 2016, stated that it was "made a part of the plenary order of protection" entered February 1, 2016.

         ¶ 6 ANALYSIS

         ¶ 7 Brown argues the court erred in entering the plenary order of protection because he was not allowed to present evidence that established that he was not the aggressor in the January 2016 incident. Brown also expresses concern that the plenary order of protection will prevent him from having a relationship with the parties' child. Lynn has not filed a brief, however, we elect to decide the merits of the appeal because the record is simple and the claimed errors can easily be decided without the aid of an appellee's brief. First Capitol Mortgage Corp. v. Talandis Construction Corp., 63 Ill.2d 128, 133 (1976).

         ¶ 8 We review the trial court's issuance of a plenary order of protection for an abuse of discretion. Lutz v. Lutz, 313 Ill.App.3d 286, 289 (2000). A trial court abuses its discretion only where no reasonable person would take the view adopted by the court. Id.

         ¶ 9 Initially, we note that our review of the record is limited as Brown did not file a transcript of the order of protection hearing and the common law record does not include the docket entries, which would summarize the in-court proceedings. Therefore, we resolve any doubts arising from the incompleteness of the record against Brown, and we presume that the order entered by the trial court conformed to the law and had a sufficient factual basis. People v. Carter, 2015 IL 117709, ¶ 19; Foutch v. O'Bryant, 99 Ill.2d 389, 391-92 (1984).

         ¶ 10 The allegations in the petition established that Lynn and Brown had a contentious relationship that culminated in a January 2016 incident of domestic violence. The court appeared to base its initial decision to enter the emergency order of protection on these allegations. Because we do not have a report of the proceedings, we must presume that the court's subsequent plenary order of protection conformed to the law and had a sufficient factual basis. Carter, 2015 IL 117709, ¶ 19; Foutch, 99 Ill.2d at 391-92. Finally, we note that Brown's concern that the order of protection will prohibit him from seeing his child is ...


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