Tennessee divorce case summary on domestic violence.
The wife in this Blount County, Tennessee, case filed for an order of protection from her estranged husband. In her petition, she alleged that the husband placed her in a wrist lock and dragged her, as she screamed that he was hurting her. She also related other occasions when the husband threatened bodily harm.
A judicial commissioner issued an ex parte temporary order of protection, and a hearing was held before Judge Tammy M. Harrington, who made a finding that the husband had abused or threatened to abuse the wife. The husband appealed, and argued that the evidence supported a finding of self-defense.
The wife admitted that she showed up at the husband’s home uninvited, but insisted that he was the aggressor. The husband, on the other hand, argued that he was acting in self defense, and even called the police. The wife was charged with domestic assault, and pled guilty.
The appeals court noted, however, that determinations of witness credibility are best done by the trial court, and such finding would not be overturned without clear and convincing evidence. The court held that the guilty plea, by itself, was not enough to require a finding of self defense. Instead, the critical factor was witness credibility, and that was best decided by the trial judge.
For these reasons, the Court of Appeals held that the evidence did not preponderate against the lower court’s findings. Therefore, it affirmed the judgment of the trial court.
The opinion of the Court of Appeals was authored by Judge W. Neal McBrayer, and Judges Kenny W. Armstrong and Kristi M. Davis joined.
No. E2020–00913-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Apr. 21, 2021).
See original opinion for exact language. Legal citations omitted.
To learn more, see Domestic Violence in Tennessee.
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