BARNES, P. J., MCMILLIAN and MERCIER, JJ.
Barnes, Presiding Judge.
Bruno appeals from the denial of a motion to set aside, in
which motion he challenged the propriety of two stalking
protective orders procured against him by his residential
neighbor, Darla Light. For reasons explained below, we affirm
in part, reverse in part, and remand the case for proceedings
not inconsistent with this opinion.
to OCGA § 16-5-94, Light filed on January 29, 2016 a
petition in Forsyth County Superior Court accusing Bruno of
engaging in stalking behavior against her and her family.
Such conduct, Light alleged in a sworn statement, included
incidents during which Bruno, while either on his property or
on her and her family's property, had yelled obscenities
to her and her family members, made escalating threats to
them, blocked their driveway, and shone a light into their
house at night. After conducting a hearing thereon, the
superior court entered a "Stalking Twelve Month
Protective Order." In relevant part, it provided,
"[Bruno] is enjoined and restrained from approaching
within one mile of [Light] and/or [her] immediate family,
and/or residence, place of employment, or school. . . . This
Order expires on February 10, 2017.
following year, on Friday, February 10, 2017, Light filed a
"Motion to Extend Twelve Month Protective Order."
In that verified pleading, Light claimed that she had not yet
benefitted from the ordered restraint because during the
intervening twelve month period, Bruno was held without bond
pending an anticipated trial. Maintaining that Bruno had
displayed a history of violence, asserting that he could be
released soon after his trial, and claiming that she feared
that Bruno would harm her and/or her family, Light requested:
"(a) that a hearing on this Motion be held at the
earliest opportunity; (b) that this [c]ourt grant this Motion
and Extend the Protective Order; and (c) that this [c]ourt
grant the Movant such other and further relief as it deems
equitable and just."
following Monday, on February 13, 2017, a rule nisi was
entered scheduling for February 22, 2017 a hearing on
Light's "Motion to Extend Twelve Month Protective
Order." Also on February 13, 2017, the court entered one
of the two orders at issue in this appeal: "Order
Extending Twelve Month Protective Order, " wherein the
superior court stated that "the Twelve Month Protective
Order issued February 10, 2016, is extended through February
February 22, 2017, the superior court entered the second of
the two orders at issue in this appeal: "Stalking Three
Year/Permanent Protective Order." In pertinent part,
that order set out:
A civil hearing was held on this matter on February 22, 2017,
at which [Bruno] appeared and/or was provided with the
opportunity to be heard and [Light] requested, pursuant to
OCGA §§ 16-5-94 (e) and 19-13-4 (c), that a
permanent Protective Order be issued. Having heard the
evidence presented, reviewed the petition and the record
concerning this cause and for good cause shown, IT IS HEREBY
ORDERED AND ADJUDGED: [Bruno] has knowingly and willfully
violated OCGA §§ 16-5-90 et seq. and placed [Light]
in reasonable fear for [her] safety, because [of] stalking,
harassment. . . .
[Bruno] is . . . enjoined and restrained from approaching
within one mile . . . of [Light] and/or
[Light's] immediate family, and/or residence, place of
employment, or school or subsequent residence, place of
employment or school. This restriction includes his own
property. . . . This Order shall be in effect for
three (3) years. . . .
filed no notice of appeal from that order. More than 30 days
from its entry, however, Bruno filed a motion to set aside,
taking issue with the Order Extending Twelve Month Protective
Order ("Extension Order") and the Stalking Three
Year/Permanent Protective Order" ("3-Year
Protective Order"). The superior court denied that
motion, and Bruno procured the instant discretionary
Bruno challenges the 3-Year Protective Order on two grounds.
an initial matter, before addressing Bruno's specific
arguments, we review the governing principles and framework.
obtain a protective order based on stalking, the petitioner
must establish the elements of the offense by a preponderance
of the evidence. The grant or denial of a motion for
protective order generally lies within the sound discretion
of the trial court, and will not be reversed absent an abuse
of that discretion." (Citations and punctuation
omitted.) Pilcher v. Stribling, 282 Ga. 166, 167
(647 S.E.2d 8) (2007).
to OCGA § 16-5-94 (a), "[a] person . . . who
alleges stalking by another person may seek a restraining
order by filing a petition alleging conduct constituting
stalking as defined in Code Section ...