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Reitz v. Flower

Pennsylvania Superior Court

January 28, 2021

Flower appealed the trial court’s order, which found him in violation of a protection from abuse order.  He argued that the trial court abused its discretion by finding him in violation based on conduct that was not specifically alleged in the complaint for indirect criminal contempt. In Reitz v. Flower, the Superior Court agreed and vacated the order. The Court found that the alleged improper conduct in the complaint was strictly limited to Flower’s possession of a firearm. Therefore, Flower was only notified of the need to defend against the allegation that he possessed a weapon. He was not put on notice that he was alleged to be in violation of the PFA order due to posting a harassing communication to Reitz–an issue that arose during the trial.  Because Flower did not have notice of this other issue, the trial court’s finding of indirect criminal contempt for the harassing conduct was improper.

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