Wednesday, July 27, 2005

H. Res. 382 - Protection Orders

Back on March 25, 2005 I wrote about the case of Jessica Gonzales who was suing the town of Castle Rock, Colorado for not enforcing a protection order against her ex-husband, who abducted and murdered her three daughters while she pleaded for assistance. On June 27, 2005, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that she did not have a "property interest" in police protection, as her lawyers had contended, because the police have wide discretion in what to do and "a benefit is not a protected entitlement if officials have discretion to grant or to deny it."

While I cannot fault the logic behind it, this ruling was a blow to domestic violence programs which have stressed restraining orders as the first line of defense for abused women and men.

Now the US House Of Representatives may get involved.
H.RES.382
Title: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives with respect to the enforcement of restraining orders.
Sponsor: Rep Capps, Lois [Dem., CA-23] (introduced 7/25/2005)
Cosponsors (1) Rep Nadler, Jerrold [Dem., NY-8]
Latest Major Action: 7/25/2005 Referred to House committee.
Status: Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.


This is not a proposed change in law. Rather, it is a resolution of opinion stating that the House disapproves of the Supreme Court ruling and suggests that the law be changed. Kudos to Representatives Capps and Nadler for bringing it to the attention of the legislature.

The full text of the legislation is now available.
HRES 382 IH
109th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. RES. 382
Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives with respect to the enforcement of restraining orders.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

July 25, 2005
Mrs. CAPPS (for herself and Mr. NADLER) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

RESOLUTION
Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives with respect to the enforcement of restraining orders.

Whereas nearly one-third of American women report being physically or sexually abused by a boyfriend or husband at some point in their lives;

Whereas intimate partner violence tends to be a pattern, rather than a one-time occurrence;

Whereas domestic homicide is often the result of continuing abuse;

Whereas restraining orders are necessary to protect victims of violence from further abuse and decrease the risk of continuing abuse or homicide;

Whereas nearly half of all victims who obtain restraining orders are abused again;

Whereas restraining orders exist to protect victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence and include explicit instructions that violation of such orders are cause for arrest;

Whereas law enforcement officials are directed to use every reasonable means to enforce a restraining order;

Whereas the Supreme Court's recent decision in Castle Rock v. Gonzales narrowed individuals' Federal court recourse against police for failing to enforce a restraining order; and

Whereas this decision highlights the need to better protect victims of domestic violence from violators of restraining orders: Now, therefore, be it


Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that Congress should act and encourage States to act--

(1) to ensure that restraining orders are uniformly enforced; and

(2) to protect victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence from perpetrators.


Contact your representative to express your support.

(cross-posted at I See Invisible People)

No comments: