Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

[U] S.P. v. Pettersen

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

February 21, 2014



Appeal from the Order Entered January 17, 2013, In the Court of Common Pleas of Pike County, Civil Division, at No. 106-2010.




Appellant, Edward W. Pettersen, Jr., appeals pro se from the January 17, 2013 order denying his petition to have contact with his children.[1] We affirm.

On May 11, 2011, following a three-day jury trial, Appellant was found guilty of three counts of aggravated assault, one count of burglary, one count of criminal trespass, three counts of simple assault, and one count of recklessly endangering another person. Commonwealth v. Pettersen, 49 A.3d 903, 906 (Pa. Super. 2012). These charges stemmed from Appellant's attack on his estranged wife, S.P., that occurred on October 14, 2009. Id. On that evening, Appellant broke into S.P.'s house where she was sleeping with the couple's children. Id. Appellant struck S.P. in the head with a hammer, pulled her out of the bedroom, stabbed her more than ten times in the chest and back, and then placed a plastic bag over her head in an attempt to suffocate her. Id. at 906-907. On January 19, 2010, the parties consented to a protection from abuse ("PFA")[2] order. PFA Order, 1/19/10. On July 7, 2011, the trial court sentenced Appellant to an aggregate term of twenty-one and one-half to seventy years of incarceration. Pettersen, 49 A.3d at 906. In addition to the restrictions in the PFA order, as part of his sentence, Appellant was to have no contact with S.P. or his children, K.P. and E.P. Trial Court Opinion, 4/3/13, at 3.

On January 16, 2013, Appellant filed a pro se petition requesting to contact his children, and in an order entered on January 17, 2013, the trial court denied the petition. Appellant filed a timely appeal, and the trial court directed Appellant to file and serve a concise statement of errors complained of on appeal pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b). Order, 2/14/13. On February 20, 2013, Appellant filed a document entitled: "Re: To have the Superior Court of Pennsylvania to reverse a petition denial from the lower court of Pike County." Pa.R.A.P. 1925 statement (verbatim). This document was forwarded to the trial court and filed on February 25, 2013. The trial court treated this document as a Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b) statement.

On appeal, Appellant challenges the order denying his petition to contact his children filed under trial court civil docket number 106-2010. That docket concerns the aforementioned PFA order. After review, we note that the PFA order in question was set to expire on January 19, 2013.[3] In a motion to withdraw, the Commonwealth argues that there is nothing at this docket number for Appellant to appeal due to the expiration of the PFA order. Commonwealth's Motion, 6/27/13, at 2. However, we point out that when Appellant filed his petition to contact the children on January 16, 2013, and when the trial court issued its ruling the following day, the PFA order was in effect. Thus, we disagree with the Commonwealth's position.[4]

The PFA Act provides that the trial court may amend a PFA order or agreement at any time upon subsequent petition filed by either party. 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 6108(d). The order disposing of such a petition is final, and we review the trial court's legal conclusions for an error of law or abuse of discretion. Lawrence v. Bordner, 907 A.2d 1109 (Pa. Super. 2006). Pursuant to this standard, and after our review of the record, we conclude that there was no error of law or abuse of discretion in the trial court denying Appellant's petition to contact his daughters. The violent attack perpetrated upon his estranged wife in the presence of his daughters supports the trial court's order and illustrates the preventative nature of PFA orders. See 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 6102 (defining abuse under the statue); and see Fonner v. Fonner; 731 A.2d 160 (Pa. Super. 1999) (stating that the purpose of a PFA order is to protect victims of domestic violence from the perpetrators of abuse and to prevent domestic violence from occurring). For these reasons, we affirm the trial court's order denying Appellant's petition to contact his children.

To the extent Appellant seeks to challenge any restrictions on contacting his children that were enumerated in the sentencing order entered on July 7, 2011, at trial court criminal docket number CP-52-CR-0000425-2009, Appellant has not filed an appeal bearing that docket number. Therefore, any issue concerning the criminal matter is not properly before this Court. Pa.R.A.P. 904.

Order affirmed.

Judgment ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.