Last month, we scored a major win in the fight for justice and the safety of domestic violence survivors:
A California woman was denied a restraining order against her abusive partner when the civil court she was petitioning refused to grant it on the basis that she already had a criminal protective order in place. CWLC recognized this was legally and ethically wrong, because civil and criminal restraining orders provide different layers of protection and having one should not preclude the granting of the other.
In response to this flawed decision, CWLC filed an amicus brief with the California Court of Appeal. Working with our partners at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, we carefully researched and crafted our arguments and the result was a resounding victory: the Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s decision in a published opinion!
Not only does this ruling protect the safety of the woman in this case, but it provides clarity for future cases. The majority of women seeking protection through restraining orders represent themselves in court, and a significant portion are monolingual Spanish speakers. Navigating the court system and performing legal research is challenging for all non-lawyers. CWLC helps reduce this burden through cases like this one – a published opinion means less ambiguity in future cases, and a higher likelihood that courts will grant the protections survivors deserve without delay.
CWLC is committed to breaking down barriers to justice for women and girls, and we applaud the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice and Sidley Austin for representing the plaintiff and fighting for her safety. We are proud to have played a role in this precedent-setting decision, and look forward to continuing our legal advocacy on behalf of domestic violence survivors.