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Gillett v. Molthan

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

April 27, 2017

JENNIFER SUZANNE GILLETT
v.
JASON STEVEN MOLTHAN

          Session April 12, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Davidson County No. 16X495 Philip E. Smith, Judge

         A man who pled guilty to charges of aggravated stalking and harassment was ordered to stay away from the woman he was stalking and harassing. When the initial term of the order of protection was nearly over, the woman filed a motion seeking to have the order of protection extended for another year. The trial court granted the motion, and the man appealed. The man does not deny engaging in the acts that formed the basis for the order of protection; the issues he raises on appeal are procedural and tangential to the reasons for the order. Concluding that none of the issues raised entitle the appellant to any relief, we affirm the trial court's judgment extending the order of protection.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit Court Affirmed

          Jason Steven Molthan, Nashville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

          Andy D. Bennett, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Frank G. Clement, Jr., P.J., M.S., and W. Neal McBrayer, J., joined.

          OPINION

          ANDY D. BENNETT, JUDGE

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         This case began on February 25, 2015, when Jennifer Suzanne Gillett filed a petition for an order of protection against Jason Steven Molthan in the Davidson County General Sessions court. The basis for the petition was Mr. Molthan's unwelcome attention directed to Ms. Gillett via "thousands and thousands of messages through Facebook, " texts on Ms. Gillett's cell phone, "hundreds of voicemail messages, " Mr. Molthan's appearance at her house, and Mr. Molthan's attempts to deliver gifts to her. Earlier on the day when Ms. Gillett sought the order of protection, Mr. Molthan was arrested outside her house and charged with aggravated stalking and harassment. In support of her petition, Ms. Gillett wrote:

I am afraid that Jason will kidnap me, hurt me, or hurt my family in order to be with me because he believes that I want to be with him and that we are supposed to be together. Jason and I have never been in a relationship and were only acquaintances in high school in Texas. I am terrified that he has found me and will not leave me or my family alone. He has consistently taken action based on delusions and hallucinations which cause me to worry about my current safety and future safety.

         The general sessions court issued Ms. Gillett an ex parte temporary order of protection on the day she filed the petition and set a hearing for March 5, 2015. Mr. Molthan was in the State's custody by that time, and he was notified of the hearing scheduled for March 5. The hearing date was continued several times until May 14, 2015, when the general sessions court granted Ms. Gillett an order of protection against Mr. Molthan extending until May 14, 2016.

         On April 28, 2016, Ms. Gillett filed a motion to extend the order of protection for another year. In support of this motion, Ms. Gillett wrote:

I would like my Order of Protection against Jason Molthan extended for 1 year because I am afraid for my life. Jason has been stalking me on and off since Junior High school. Jason was convicted of 2 counts of Aggravated Stalking and 1 count of Harassment in July 2015. Since his conviction, he has been in Nashville and will be here until 2018 to complete the requirements of his probation. I have recently been outspoken in the media about a bill that would change the Stalking laws in Tennessee. Jason began to appear frequently at the Tennessee legislature when he learned I was connected to this bill. Jason went as far as to breach security and go into the Governor's office. Jason delivered a handwritten letter to Bill Haslam opposing the Stalking bill. The letter mentioned my name several times throughout, saying that I created the bill because I have a personal vendetta against him. He insinuates that he is going to punish me through the courts for having him arrested for stalking me. I believe Jason will continue to stalk me if my Order of Protection lapses. The recent interaction with the legislature shows that he is still interested in stalking me. I believe I am in danger if my Order of Protection lapses because Jason has a violent history and has made threats to harm me in the past.

         The general sessions court held a hearing on May 5, 2016, and granted Ms. Gillett's motion, extending her order of protection for one year.

         Mr. Molthan appealed the order granting Ms. Gillett's motion to the Circuit Court of Davidson County. Mr. Molthan filed a motion challenging the court's jurisdiction and invoked his civil rights followed by a motion to dismiss the order of protection. A special master heard the appeal on June 14, 2016, and she affirmed the general sessions court's judgment extending the order of protection for one year. Mr. Molthan sought a re-hearing before a circuit court judge. Following his request for a re-hearing, Mr. Molthan filed motions seeking the following: (1) to replace the flag with a non-fringed flag, cite the pledge of allegiance, and enact a jury trial; (2) to activate a Tennessee Constitution article VI court; (3) to invoke rights under constitutional authority; (4) to ensure the rule of law; (5) for special care, patience, and to uphold the spirit of the law; and (6) for due process.

         The circuit court held a hearing on Mr. Molthan's motions on July 7, 2016, and it entered an order denying each of the motions. The court found Mr. Molthan's "reasoning to be convoluted and generally not supported by Tennessee law or our Rules of Civil Procedure." The court then entered an order granting Ms. Gillett's motion extending her order of protection against Mr. Molthan for one year. The court made the following findings of fact:

1.Petitioner and Respondent attended the same junior high and high school in Odessa, Texas in the 1990s at which time they did not socialize and were not friends. However, Respondent engaged in some unwanted contact with Petitioner during those years.
2. Petitioner moved to Nashville as an adult, is married and has children. She is a mental health provider/private therapist.
3. In June of 2014 Petitioner began receiving messages from the Respondent on Facebook. These messages quickly became alarming to Petitioner in their frequency and content. Based on their content, it appeared to Petitioner that Respondent was suffering from a delusional understanding of a relationship with Petitioner that did not exist in reality. The messages were erratic, aggressive, and highly sexualized.
4.In addition to contacting Petitioner via Facebook, Respondent also began contacting her via telephone, with thousands of text messages and voice mails.
5.Petitioner made it clear from the beginning and restated multiple times that any contact from the Respondent was unwelcome and unwanted. The frequency and content of the messages caused her to feel terrorized ...

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