Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Court hears domestic violence case

The US Supreme Court has just agreed to hear a domestic violence case.
In Town of Castle Rock, Colorado v. Gonzales, No. 04-728, the high court will consider whether a civil rights remedy is available to domestic violence victims whose pleas to enforce protection orders go unheeded by local police departments.

The high court case has at its core a claim under 42 U.S.C. 1983, which provides a civil remedy, including damages, when a person is deprived of his or her constitutionally protected property interest without due process.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held last year that Castle Rock could be liable under §1983. The divided en banc court ruled that the combination of a protection order and a state statute mandating arrest of the person restrained when police have probable cause to believe the order has been violated creates a property interest in enforcement of the order.
I am assuming that the Supreme Court is just hearing the case to overrule the wacky 10th Circuit ruling. If women really have a constitutional property interested in having their husbands promptly arrested, and can sue the police dept. if the police do not immediately comply, then domestic relations could get a whole lot nastier.

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