One of the more straightforward arrests and prosecutions handled by Assistant District Attorneys in New York City as well as some of the neighboring counties is Criminal Contempt in the Second Degree. Second Degree Criminal Contempt, pursuant to New York Penal Law 215.50(3), basically occurs or is committed when you violate the language of an order of protection or what is also referred to as a restraining order. For example, if a judge of the Criminal Court, Supreme Court, County Court (outside New York City) or Family Court issues an order of protection in favor of either a complainant or a petitioner, you (as a defendant or respondent) must abide by the language of that order. If that order of protection states on its face that there can be no contact what-so-ever and you call or stop by the other party’s apartment to say “hello” or apologize for past misconduct, you will violate the order. To be very clear, any contact beyond what is permitted, whether it be for kindness or crime, will be the basis for violating an order of protection.
Now that you have a general (yet non legal) idea as to what constitutes Criminal Contempt in the Second Degree, NY PL 215.50, the remaining substance of this blog entry will address People v. Jakubowski, 2013KN044821, NYLJ 1202627740970 (Crim., KI, Decided November, 12, 2013) where the issue was not necessarily what caused the violation of the order of protection, but what constituted a defendant’s knowledge of its existence in order to determine whether a violation occurred. In that case, the defendant was personally served with an order of protection by the victim/complainant in February. In June, the defendant “made eye contact with [the complainant], [gestured] with the [his] finger across [his] neck in a throat-slashing manner, and [took] photographs of [complainant]” – which was in violation of the order of protection. Subsequently, the police arrested the defendant and he was charged with Criminal Contempt in the 2nd Degree (Penal Law 215.50(3)) and Harassment in the 2nd Degree (Penal Law 240.26(1)). In response, the defendant made a motion to dismiss these charges.