Women and Justice: Keywords

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.



Expediente 12-0001488-0396-PE Tribunal de Apelación de Sentencia Penal. Segundo Circuito Judicial de Guanacaste, Santa Cruz (2013)

Gender-based violence in general

The public ministry is appealing a previous ruling, which found the defendant not guilty of violating an order or protection that prohibited the defendant from, among other things, nearing or entering the home, place of work or place of study of the complainant. Police found the defendant approximately one or two meters from the complainant’s home, armed with a knife. He had broken down the front door and forcibly entered the home. The judge in the previous ruling found the defendant not guilty of violating the order of protection because the facts alleged by the public ministry had not been sufficiently demonstrated. The court also found that the protective order was vague (e.g., what does “near” the house mean?) and that it had not been demonstrated that the defendant was at the victim’s home without her consent. The victim declined to testify. This court overturns the ruling and remands the case to the lower court. The judge found that the investigation was deficient and the public investigators should have looked to other evidence notwithstanding the victim’s refusal to testify), including the fact that the victim called authorities for help and that the door to the house had been broken. The principle of reasonableness should govern, and here, there was clearly a violation of the intent of the protective order. The judge notes that while protective orders do limit rights of the individual subject to the order, their purpose is to provide equal rights to the protected individual. These limitations on the accused’s rights, while important, are less important than the ultimate goal of protecting the other person(s). The goal of public officials should be to provide tools to individuals so that they can enjoy their constitutional and human rights, including equality. In examining these cases, judges should look at the core purpose of the protective order and determine whether the order has been violated, and here, the facts were sufficient to show such a violation. In his discussion, the judge cites the Intra-American Convention to Prevent Violence Against Women, which requires that states take all appropriate measures with respect to legislation, judicial practices and common law in order to prevent violence against women and to establish judicial and administrative procedures for this purpose.

El Ministerio Público inicia esta apelación a una orden de la corte inferior la cual declaró al acusado “no culpable” de violar una Orden que le prohibía estar cerca o entrar a la casa, centro de trabajo, o de estudio, de la litigante. La policia encontró al acusado a unos 2 metros de la casa de la víctima y armado con un cuchillo. El había forzado la puerta del frente y se había adentrado en el hogar. El juez de la corte inferior encontró que estos actos no sumaban a culpabilidad por las siguientes razones: (1) la evidencia no fue específicamente demostrada; (2) la redacción de la Orden se determinó “vaga” porque no especificaba los metros de distancia que no eran permitidos, incluyendo la frase poco específica “cerca de la casa;” (3) no se demostró que el acusado estaba adentro de la casa sin el consentimiento de la litigante; y (4) la litigante se negó a testificar frente a la corte. Nosotros anulamos dichas conclusiones y remendamos el caso en busca de más evidencia. La investigación fue deficiente desde el inicio. Los investigadores públicos debieron haber buscado y presentado mas información—por ejemplo el hecho de que la víctima llamó a la policia diciendo que alguien había forzado la puerta del frente. El principio legal de justicia gobierna este caso. Aunque la Orden no incluya palabras especificas y en efecto limite los derechos del acusado, la conclusión de la corte inferior viola su intento. El propósito de esas órdenes es proveer derechos al protegido. Por lo tanto, cualquier limitación en los derechos del acusado resultan inferiores al objetivo principal protector. La meta de los oficiales públicos debe concentrarse en asegurar que todos los individuos disfruten sus derechos constitucionales, incluyendo la igualdad. Cuando casos similares se presentan ante la corte, los jueces deben concentrarse en analizar el objetivo principal de la Orden protectora. Entonces, en vista a ese hallazgo, determinar si ha sido violada. En este caso hay hechos suficientes demostrando tal violación. En la discusión mencionada, el juez cita datos de la Convención Intro-Americana para prevenir la violencia contra la mujer (Intra-American Convention to Prevent Violence Against Women). Esta Convención require que los estados, tomen toda medida posible con respecto a la legislatura, prácticas judiciales, y ley escrita en vistas a prevenir cualquier violencia contra las mujeres y además establecer los procedimientos judiciales y administrativos pertinentes en vistas a lograr este propósito.