Sentencia nº 500 de Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (Número de Expediente: CC13-348)

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A landlady alleged that two delinquent male tenants assaulted her and threatened to kill her if she sought to evict them. The tenants were charged with “violence against a woman,” a violation of the Organic Law on the Right of Women to a Life Free of Violence (the “statute”), which created special courts with exclusive jurisdiction to hear cases under the statute. The ordinary court declined jurisdiction and referred the case to the special court. In the meantime, after completing their investigation, prosecutors downgraded the charges to “general injuries,” a violation of the general penal code. The special court also declined jurisdiction, reasoning that its jurisdiction under the statute was limited to gender-based violence and that the violence alleged in the case was rooted in a contractual dispute and not in the landlady’s gender. When the jurisdictional conflict was certified to the Supreme Court, it held that the landlady’s gender was sufficient to bring the case within the exclusive jurisdiction of the special courts, irrespective of the statutory classification of the alleged crime. Dissenting judges argued that the special court’s jurisdiction was confined to gender-based crimes and that the majority opinion would result in a separate system of justice for each gender.



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