Previously, we blogged upon the Hudson County case of Crespo v. Crespo where the trial judge held that New Jersey’s Domestic Violence statute was unconstitutional. On June 18, 2009, in a reported decision, the Appellate Division reversed the decision of the trial court and found that the status was constitutional.
The trial court decision in Crespo was intriguing in that in 1992, the Appellate Division previously found the statute to be constitutional. The Appellate Division in Crespo was similarly surprised that it’s binding precedent was "side stepped."
Notwithstanding, the Appellate Division re-affirmed that the lowest standard of proof, preponderance of evidence, was appropriate and constitutional in these matters, noting again the Legislative intent of protecting victims from domestic abuse which has been echoed by the New Jersey Supreme Court. In short, the public policy in this regard, was and is clear.
Stay tuned to see whether this matter is appealed to the New Jersey Supreme Court.