Order of Protection Violation - Article 8 of the Family Court Act New York

In People v. Wood (95 NY2d 509, 742 NE2d 114, 719 NYS2d 639 [2000]), following a Family Court hearing brought under article 8 of the Family Court Act, a finding was made that the respondent, Mr. Wood, violated an order of protection previously issued by that court in a pending article 8 matter. The finding was that the violation occurred on December 25, 1996, when Mr. Wood made five "prank phone calls" to an individual he had been ordered not to have any contact with. He was sentenced to six months' incarceration following the adjudication in Family Court. (Id. at 511.) Mr. Wood had also been indicted based on an allegation he violated an order of protection issued by the Rochester City Court. The Rochester order directed Mr. Wood to have no contact with the same person named in the aforementioned Family Court order. The indictment charged Mr. Wood with "five counts of criminal contempt and five counts of aggravated harassment . . . as a result of the same five phone calls" made on December 25, 1996. (Id. at 511-512.) In the criminal matter, the trial court denied Mr. Wood's motion to dismiss the indictment on double jeopardy grounds. Mr. Wood was subsequently convicted in the criminal action on each of the five counts of criminal contempt and aggravated harassment, following a jury trial. The Court of Appeals found that "because the same acts violated both orders, it would be impossible for defendant to be guilty of first degree criminal contempt for violating the City Court order of protection without concomitantly being guilty of contempt for violating the Family Court order of protection." (Id. at 514.) Thus, the Court held that the criminal contempt prosecution was barred because of the previous conviction "under Family Court Act article 8." (Id. at 515.)