Ex-Husband Violated Protective Order By Requesting Daughter Send Unnerving Text to Ex-Wife

Case: Todd DeWayne Kelly v. State of Indiana 
by Mike Kohlhaas, Bingham Greenebaum Doll

HELD: Ex-Husband’s conviction for violation of a protective order was affirmed, based upon text messages that Ex-Husband sent to his daughter, requesting that she give an unnerving message to Ex-Wife — who had secured the subject protective order against Ex-Husband.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY:
Ex-Husband and Ex-Wife were married, during which they had Daughter. In 2011, the Johnson Circuit Court issued an ex parte order of protection that prohibited Ex-Husband from having direct or indirect contact with Ex-Wife. Leading up to March 2012, Ex-Husband was leaving voicemails and sending text messages to Daughter at all hours. Some of the messages were perceived by Daughter as threatening and scary. One of the messages from Ex-Husband to Daughter stated: “if you see your mom tell her I said rattle, rattle, rattle.”  Daughter was aware of the protective order, so she shared the messages with Ex-Wife. Ex-Wife construed the message as threatening, because Ex-Husband had used the phrase “rattle, rattle, rattle” during their marriage to intimidate her.

Ex-Wife involved law enforcement. Ex-Husband was subsequently arrested, and charged with violation of the protective order. Following a bench trial, Ex-Husband was convicted and sentenced to one year in jail, with 180 days suspended provided Ex-Husband had no further contact with Ex-Wife. Ex-Husband appealed.

On appeal, Ex-Husband argued that the State failed to prove that he directly or indirectly communicated with Ex-Wife. The Court of Appeals disagreed, concluding that the instruction from Ex-Husband to Daughter, that she relay a message to Ex-Wife, demonstrated a clear and deliberate indirect communication.

Ex-Husband’s conviction was affirmed.

To view the text of this opinion in its entirety, click here: Todd DeWayne Kelly v. State of Indiana

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The Indiana Family Law Update is a free service provided by the Matrimonial Law Group of Bingham Greenebaum Doll, LLP. While significant efforts are made to ensure an accurate summary and reproduction of each opinion, readers are advised to verify all content and analysis with a traditional case law reporter before relying on the content and analysis offered here.
ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

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