February 26, 2014—San Diego, CA—California Coalition for Families and Children today files a Motion for Preliminary Injunction in its ongoing civil rights and racketeering case against the Domestic Dispute Industry. In their Motion, the Coalition argues that the standard for invoking a domestic violence restraining order under the California Family Code—“abuse” –is an overbroad and vague content-based restriction on free speech, and therefore illegal. From the Motion:
MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES
Domestic violence is a serious national concern. United States Department of Justice statistics indicate that despite a decrease in frequency of intimate partner violence over the last twenty years, incident rates for nonfatal domestic violence remain at two tenths of one per cent of the population. Voluminous research, writing, and debate regarding the causes, nature, and appropriate means of eradicating this social malady have not resolved the controversy among researchers about how to eradicate the offensive persistence of domestic strife.
The solution legislated by the state of California and enabled by Defendant JUDICIAL COUNCIL is a courageous initiative consisting of a body of laws, regulations, policies, formwork, and practice standards guiding the behavior of social workers, criminal prosecutors, public and private civil attorneys, judges, court staff, administrators, and law enforcement animating unique oversight and restrictions on those most likely to be involved in domestic violence crimes: Families. Thousands of studies commissioned by state and federal governments have shown in abundance that families are statistically more likely to commit crimes of domestic violence. One attorney for the United States Department of Justice recently explained that every domestic relationship is a potential “powder keg” warranting special government attention. Even more studies proving this clear point are ongoing, yet the final solution to how undesirable family discord will be fully exterminated remains illusive. Stuart Decl. ¶¶ 34-34.
In pursuit of this end, state and local entities in California devote special attention to families in order to deter behavior which may lead to injury. This Motion asserts that one embodiment of California’s scheme to eradicate domestic violence—preventive restraining orders—fails to properly observe constitutional boundaries. Specifically, to what extent may police powers be deployed onto families to accomplish desirable goals of domestic violence deterrence without overstepping constitutional restrictions on the use of state-sponsored tools of coercion?
This Motion offers that California’s present scheme to eradicate domestic strife penalizes behavior that (1) is expressly protected by clearly-established fundamental state and federal constitutional rights, (2) violates no law, (3) causes no compensable injury, and (3) may not found any action in equity outside of the jurisdiction of domestic relations courts. Among the wide array of appropriate tools available to the state of California in responding to undesirable behavior, California’s coercive intervention scheme has overstepped clear constitutional boundaries, is of unproven efficacy, is widely abused as a tool for fraud and extortion, and demeans the integrity and effectiveness of our civil and criminal justice institutions. Based upon these deleterious consequences and the strong likelihood of prevailing on questions of law, Plaintiffs seek an order enjoining substantial ongoing illegal interference with the protected liberty interests of citizens of the United States and the State of California.
The complete story, pleadings, and analysis from Weightier Matter.