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Old 06-29-2005, 06:50 AM   #1
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Supreme Ct - No Safe Haven

I work in a Domestic Violence Shelter and yesterday's decision was a horrible blow for women. Everyone here is very upset. Sandra Day O'connors desent was right on target.

Some Background
News: Underfunded shelters. Unenforced restraining orders. Will cops, Congress, and the Supreme Court leave women with no safe haven?
http://www.motherjones.com/news/feat...afe_haven.html

No Safe Haven
By The Editors

July/August 2005 Issue

THIS SUMMER AND COMING FALL, America will face a test of its determination to confront domestic violence. Two tests, really: one, a court case; the other, a piece of federal legislation, each signaling in its own way whether the struggle to ensure women’s safety is advancing or in retreat. That struggle—which is as old as Carrie Nation—has made great strides over the last three decades. Domestic violence has been acknowl- edged and defined, recognized in law, and countered with pro- grams ranging from counseling to shelters to hot lines to enforcement training and judicial reform. As a result, the overall incidence of women being battered or killed by intimate partners has declined or leveled off.

Still, as many as 4 million women are assaulted by spouses or partners each year, and 1,200 are killed. Clearly, the fight is not over.

It certainly isn’t over for Jessica Gonzales, whose estranged husband abducted their three children from her front yard one day in 1999 and murdered them, a carnage that might have been prevented had the Castle Rock, Colorado, police department not refused to act on the protective order she’d sworn out. Gonzales sued the town for its negligence; her case reached the U.S. Supreme Court this spring, where the Bush administration weighed in on Castle Rock’s side. The arguments were technical legal dissections; left hanging was any consideration of the mayhem in many women’s lives if the tool of the restraining order is shown to be without teeth.

That’s one test. The second comes when Congress deliberates the renewal of the 10-year-old Violence Against Women Act, which will expire on September 30. Advocates of the successful and popular legislation hope it will be buttressed with enhanced funding but fear its support will be cut.

The stories on the following pages display the enormous ramifications of such decisions. We may no longer live in the era when so many women, deprived of legal, peaceful remedies to the horror of their lives, resorted to the violent remedy forced on Shelley Hendrickson (right). But, as Patricia Prickett, a former adviser to the L.A.P.D., attests, the most effective way to solve the larger problem is still being sought by advocates battling for women’s safety. Judging from the casualties, the battle remains to be won.

Gonzales lost.
The Gonzales case was a tragedy. Her chilren were kidnapped in the morrning. She called the police over 5 times and went to the station begging them to act. Her husband killed them sometime and at 11:00 pm went and started firing at the police station and was killed. The three girls weredead in the back of his truck. Colorado has a law on it's books requiring them to enfoce restraining orders.
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Old 06-29-2005, 07:01 AM   #2
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I'm sorry to see this. I used to volunteer at a womens resource center. Even with restraining orders it was difficult to get the police to follow through resulting in the death of one of our clients. It's sad this issue is getting even less support now
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Old 06-29-2005, 08:25 AM   #3
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I was very sorry and ANGRY to see this too, SW, and I also liked O'Conner's dissent.

The Wellstone Foundation has a good campaign to fight domestic violence for anyone interested.

http://wellstone.org
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Old 06-29-2005, 09:27 AM   #4
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This case is tragic, but leaves a number of questions unanswered about how we deal with restraining orders.

Enforcement of restraining orders takes an enourmous amount of law enforcement bandwidth. If we expect an officer to be dispatched for every violation, we would need to increase the size of our police forces multiple times over.

We should also weigh the affect of a restraining order. Is it a "mini-law" that we can act upon when the individual violates the terms? Or does it create a right to a private security agent to prevent violations of the order?
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Old 06-29-2005, 10:29 AM   #5
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I'm sorry to see this. Thanks for the info about the Wellstone thing, Sherry. I'd lost that bookmark on my computer.
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Old 06-29-2005, 01:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
This case is tragic, but leaves a number of questions unanswered about how we deal with restraining orders.

Enforcement of restraining orders takes an enourmous amount of law enforcement bandwidth. If we expect an officer to be dispatched for every violation, we would need to increase the size of our police forces multiple times over.

We should also weigh the affect of a restraining order. Is it a "mini-law" that we can act upon when the individual violates the terms? Or does it create a right to a private security agent to prevent violations of the order?
I agree it takes a lot of time. However, this case was actually a kidnapping as the order included contact with the children. She even read it to the cops 2 different times. I also made an error, he had the girls in the cab with him and had been driving around with them dead for at least a couple hours.

Most deaths are after a restraining order has been taken out and the orders aren't enforceable until broken. This case is tragic because the order was violated and the attitude was - oh well he's the father. The police were negligent.
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Old 06-29-2005, 01:55 PM   #7
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A few things:

1) The dissent was actually written by Stevens, and joined by Ginsburg. O'Connor joined Scalia's opinion.

2) I think this is a clear violation of Equal Protection, but the Due Process argument makes less sense to me.
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