Pam L. Secklin, petitioner, Respondent, vs. Chris T. Skelton, Appellant.Annotate this Case
This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Pam L. Secklin, petitioner,
Chris T. Skelton,
Filed August 9, 2005
Order vacated and remanded for hearing
Toussaint, Chief Judge
Stearns County District Court
File No. CX-04-2310
Pam L. Secklin, St. Cloud State University, 825 M & S Building, Room 107, St. Cloud, MN 56301 (pro se respondent)
Christopher T. Skelton, 15001 Highway 24 Northwest, Clearwater, MN 55320 (pro se appellant)
Considered and decided by Wright, Presiding Judge; Toussaint, Chief Judge; and Parker, Judge.*
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
TOUSSAINT, Chief Judge
Appellant Chris T. Skelton challenges the district court's harassment restraining order issued pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 609.748, subd. 5(a) (2004), arguing he was not provided a full hearing. Because the district court did not swear in the witnesses before receiving their testimony, we vacate the order and remand for a full hearing.FACTS
In June 2004, respondent Pam L. Secklin requested the district court issue a restraining order prohibiting Skelton from having any contact with her and requiring that he stay away from her residence and her place of employment. Secklin alleged that after ending a brief relationship she had with Skelton, he made unwanted visits to her home, verbally abused her, made unwanted phone calls to her, and sent her numerous emails. Based on Secklin's petition and accompanying statement, the district court issued a harassment restraining order prohibiting Skelton from having any contact with Secklin.
After Skelton was served with a copy of the order, he requested a hearing under Minn. Stat. § 609.748 (2004) to challenge the order. Both Secklin and Skelton offered testimony at the hearing, but the district court did not swear in either person. Following the hearing, the district court issued a harassment restraining order prohibiting Skelton from having any contact with Secklin for two years.D E C I S I O N
In Anderson v. Lake, 536 N.W.2d 909, 911 (Minn. App. 1995), this court held that "the hearing required under Minn. Stat. § 609.748, subd. 5(a), includes the right to examine witnesses and that witnesses must testify under oath if the order is to be given effect for longer than 14 days." (Emphasis added). The district court's findings to support a restraining order must be based upon testimony and documents that are properly received into evidence. Id.at 911-12. For testimony to be properly received, the district court must require witnesses to take an oath consistent with Minn. R. Evid. 603 before testifying. Id.at 911. We concluded in Lake that a person subject to a harassment restraining order intended to remain in effect for longer than 14 daysis entitled to a new hearing if these procedures are not followed. Id. at 912.
Here, the district court did not swear in the witnesses before receiving their testimony. Therefore, Skelton was not provided a full hearing before the district court issued a restraining order to be in effect for two years, and he is entitled to a new hearing.
Order vacated and remanded for hearing.
* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.