About | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline

40 B.C. L. Rev. 937 (1998-1999)
Domestic Violence No-Contact Orders and the Autonomy Rights of Victims

handle is hein.journals/bclr40 and id is 949 raw text is: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE NO-CONTACT
She sat in the first row, her children by her side. She was easy to
pick out of the crowded courtroom. In part, because the regulars-the
probation officers, the interpreters, the victims' advocates, the daily
courtroom watchers-of the Rhode Island Superior Court are easily
recognizable. Also, although she wasn't keeping an eye out for her
lawyer-she didn't have a lawyer-she nervously watched everything
and everyone, sure that someone would ask her to leave. She wore her
best outfit and kept the kids quiet and still, showing proper respect.
When her name was read there was the moment of hesitation seen
time and again in the courtroom. Should she stand up? Go through
the gate, into the inner sanctum where the judge sat? As she half-stood,
looking for a signal from someone-a uniform, a suit, a robe-who
knew what she was supposed to do, she heard the judge ask the
prosecutor for a recommendation. Without looking up, the prosecutor
indicated that the Attorney General's office would recommend denial.
She didn't know the woman speaking, had never met her.
Before she had managed to straighten her skirt, the judge an-
nounced, Motion dismissed, and turned to the next file. She looked
around the room for a clue, for someone to tell her what had just
happened. The sheriff approached her, knowing, as the regulars did,
why she was there. He explained that her application to withdraw the
no-contact order issued against her husband had been denied. Maybe
you should try again in three months?
But I didn't get to talk, I didn't get to tell them.., who is she to
decide... they never asked me why.
Scenes such as this can be witnessed several times a week in many
courtrooms of the United States. In Rhode Island, the state decided
what was best for this woman and her family without giving her an
opportunity to be heard. Rhode Island is not alone in this approach;
many other states, in the wake of growing public awareness, have
developed similar statutes and policies to prosecute domestic violence
offenses. It has taken more than twenty years to criminalize conduct
that the criminal justice system has traditionally treated as an untouch-
able, private family matter. Today, strong anti-domestic violence laws
and policies are in place and functioning, albeit to varying degrees,
throughout the country. These laws are primarily intended to protect

What Is HeinOnline?

HeinOnline is a subscription-based resource containing thousands of academic and legal journals from inception; complete coverage of government documents such as U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Code, Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Reports, and much more. Documents are image-based, fully searchable PDFs with the authority of print combined with the accessibility of a user-friendly and powerful database. For more information, request a quote or trial for your organization below.

Short-term subscription options include 24 hours, 48 hours, or 1 week to HeinOnline.

Contact us for annual subscription options:

Already a HeinOnline Subscriber?

profiles profiles most