from the Iowa District Court for Warren County, Kevin A.
Parker, District Associate Judge.
former husband convicted of domestic-abuse assault appeals
the extension of the no-contact order protecting his former
R. Anderson of The Law Office of Karmen Anderson, Des Moines,
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Linda J. Hines, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Mullins, JJ.
issue in this appeal is the district court's five-year
extension of a criminal no-contact order under Iowa Code
section 664A.8 (2016). Rick Petro contends the court should
have found, based on his testimony, he no longer posed a
threat to the safety of his former wife. Because substantial
evidence in the record supports the district court's
perception of a continuing threat, we affirm.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
August 2009, Rick Petro physically assaulted his wife,
Suella, in front of their children. The State charged him
with domestic-abuse assault causing bodily injury, as well as
first-degree harassment, based on his threat to kill Suella.
Rick pleaded guilty to the assault charge, a serious
misdemeanor, in violation of Iowa Code section 708.2(2). At
the January 2010 sentencing hearing, the district court
granted Rick a deferred judgment. The court also entered a
one-year no-contact order, prohibiting Rick from interacting
April 2010, Rick violated the terms of his probation by
leveling threats against Suella; he told a social worker that
"if his wife didn't 'keep her mouth shut [he
was] going to take a fucking ball bat to her head.'"
Rick stipulated to the probation violation, and the court
revoked his deferred judgment, placing him on probation for
January 2011, Suella applied for an extension of the
no-contact order. The court granted the request on February
8, 2011, extending protection until February 8, 2016. But in
April 2011, Rick again violated the no-contact order by
directly addressing Suella in the courtroom during his
termination-of-parental- rights hearing, saying, "I
can't believe you're doing this." He stipulated
to a probation violation and received a two-day jail term for
contempt of court.
January 6, 2016, Suella filed an application for modifying a
no-contact order, writing on the form she "would like
the no-contact order extended for as long as possible."
The district court granted the extension the same day and
without a hearing. Several days later, Rick filed a motion to
reconsider the extension and requested a hearing.
court held a hearing on April 22, 2016, where Rick was the
only witness. He testified against extending the no-contact
order because he and Suella both still lived in Carlisle and
he was "afraid that if I even pass her on the street
that she'll call and turn me in." Suella offered
three exhibits: (1) a March 2011 letter from an Iowa
Department of Human Services (DHS) case worker concerning the
traumatic impact of Rick's anger on his son, (2) a page
from a DHS case plan showing Rick's psychological
diagnoses, and (3) an October 2011 letter from Suella's
counsel to Rick's counsel alleging Rick had violated the
protective order by driving past her home and seeking to
communicate with Suella through his parents. The court
admitted those exhibits over Rick's objections. At the
State's request, the court also took judicial notice of
several juvenile court files involving the Petro
children's dependency cases. Counsel for the State and
Suella both argued for extension of the no-contact order,
asserting Rick's past violations of the no-contact order
are good predictors of his future performance.
district court approved the five-year extension, offering the