Women and Justice: Court: Court of Appeals of Texas

Domestic Case Law

Roper v. Jolliffe Court of Appeals of Texas (2015)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

Joliffe was granted a temporary ex parte protective order against Roper, with whom she aws in a relationship, following an incident of violence at Roper’s apartment, with a hearing on the matter of the protective order scheduled eight days later. Roper motioned for limited discovery and a jury trial. The jury trial was denied but the limited discovery was granted. The court granted Jolliffe a two year protective order, finding by a preponderance of the evidence that Roper was a threat, and ordered Roper to participate in the Batterer’s Intervention and Counselling Program (BIPP). Roper argued to the Court of Appeals that he was entitled to a jury trial under the Texas state Constitution. The court determined that Roper was not entitled to a jury because the state legislature’s intent concerning protective orders was for the court to be the sole fact finder. Roper never formally requested discovery, so he was not denied a meaningful opportunity to defend himself under the due process clause. Roper argued that he was entitled to a higher burden of proof than preponderance of the evidence, citing the criminal undertones of domestic violence civil proceedings, but the court found that preponderance of the evidence was the correct standard.