MCFADDEN, P. J., RAY and RICKMAN, JJ.
Little appeals from a stalking twelve-month protective order
and contends that appellee Linda Booker failed to meet the
requirements of the relevant statute. For the reasons that
follow, we affirm.
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."
(Citation and punctuation omitted.) Pilcher v.
Stribling, 282 Ga. 166, 167 (647 S.E.2d 8) (2007).
record shows that on April 27, 2017, Booker filed a verified
petition against Little seeking a stalking temporary
protective order under OCGA § 16-5-90 et
In the petition, Booker alleged that on or about March 31,
2017, as she rode with her son to his job in Milledgeville,
"[Little] had followed us all the way to Milledgeville,
and kept showing up around there like she was trying to find
us." Booker also alleged that
[Little] called the police and made two false reports on my
sons. She has harassed me constantly[, ] ma[d]e me feel
uncomfortable, and keep[s] reports on me. Watching me and
monitoring everything I do. She makes false statement[s]
about me to others. She makes me feel threatened on a daily
court entered a temporary order and scheduled a hearing for
May 9, 2017. Following a joint hearing in both the Little and
Bullard cases, the court found Little to have knowingly and
willfully violated OCGA § 16-5-90 et seq. and, among
other things, ordered Little not to come within 50 yards of
Booker, her immediate family, or their residence, place of
employment, or school for a period of twelve months. The
court further ordered that Little not have any other type of
contact with Booker or her immediate family for the same
period. On appeal, Little contends that the preponderance of
the evidence did not support the elements of such an order.
first address this Court's jurisdiction to hear the
appeal. Because the order on appeal expired on May 8, 2018,
"the issues raised arguably are moot, and mootness is a
mandatory ground for dismissal." (Citation and
punctuation omitted.) Baca v. Baca, 256 Ga.App. 514,
515 (1) (568 S.E.2d 746) (2002); see also OCGA § 5-6-48
(b) (3). But appeals are not moot where they involve
"matters in which there is intrinsically insufficient
time to obtain judicial relief for a claim common to an
existing class of sufferers." (Citation and punctuation
omitted.) Collins v. Lombard Corp., 270 Ga. 120,
121-122 (1) (508 S.E.2d 653) (1998); see also Inserection
v. City of Marietta, 278 Ga. 170, 171 (2) (598 S.E.2d
452) (2004) ("an appeal is not moot where the alleged
error is capable of repetition yet evades judicial
review"). "Accordingly, we must address whether the
various issues are common to an existing class, yet tend to
evade review." Baca, 256 Ga.App. at 516 (1).
Elgin v. Swann, 315 Ga.App. 809, 810 (1) (728 S.E.2d
328) (2012), this Court held that although the six-month
stalking protective order on appeal had expired, the issues
raised on appeal - the correct burden of proof and the
sufficiency of the evidence - were not moot for two reasons.
First, the issues were capable of repetition because they
concerned whether the evidence showed "a pattern of
harassing or intimidating conduct and a potential for future
stalking [that] could arise again in the context of another
stalking protective order." Id. at 810 (1).
Second, the issues were likely to evade review because
"[a] stalking protective order is limited by statute to
a duration of 12 months, although it can later be renewed for
a greater time period or be made permanent."
Id. Further, the time constraints of the appellate
courts often leave insufficient time to address the merits of
such an appeal. Id. For the same reasons as in
Elgin, we conclude the appeal in the present case is
not moot. Compare Baca, 256 Ga.App. at 516 (1)
(appellate issues regarding the admission of evidence in a
hearing on a six-month protective order were "germane
only to the temporary order" and therefore moot);
Birchby v. Carboy, 311 Ga.App. 538, 540 (2) (716
S.E.2d 592) (2011) (in appeal of twelve-month protective
order, "enumerations regarding the trial court's
failure to reopen the evidence, its failure to consider the
pending divorce action, and its denial of his motion for new
trial" were moot given that order had expired).
2. Under the stalking statute,
[a] person commits the offense of stalking when he or she
follows, places under surveillance, or contacts another
person at or about a place or places without the consent of
the other person for the purpose of harassing and
intimidating the other person.
OCGA § 16-5-90 (a) (1). The term "harassing and
intimidating" is defined as
a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a
specific person which causes emotional distress by placing
such person in reasonable fear for such person's safety
or the safety of a member of his or her immediate family, by
establishing a pattern of harassing and intimidating
behavior, and which serves no legitimate purpose.
Id. These elements of the offense must be
established by a preponderance of the evidence.