Appellate Project Preserves Order of Protection

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In a recent case cited as a “case of interest” in the New York Law Journal, FLU attorney Christina Brandt-Young scored another win for NYLAG’s Domestic Violence Appellate Representation Project. Founded in 2007, the Project seeks to represent in the appeals courts domestic violence victims denied justice at the trial court level.

This victory preserved a domestic violence victim’s stay-away Order of Protection after the Order had been appealed to the New York Supreme Court’s Appellate Division.

Ms. S’s three-year relationship with Mr. D was marked by verbal, emotional, and physical abuse. In 2007, Ms. S. petitioned for and was awarded a full two-year Order of Protection covering her and her child.

But Ms. S’s abuser simply moved the abuse into the courtroom, appealing the Order of Protection on the spurious grounds that the trial court should have required Ms. S to testify as to his abuse twice, once in a fact-finding hearing and again in a dispositional hearing, even though he failed to request such a hearing at trial.

Ms. Brandt-Young successfully argued that the Order of Protection had been justly ordered and should continue to be in effect, as no dispositional hearing was required. While a dispositional hearing may be called for when the history of abuse is complex or the case calls for an unusual dispositional order, no such hearing was required in this relatively straightforward case.

“This is important for battered women,” Ms. Brandt-Young said, “as it means they will not be required to testify twice in all family offense [domestic violence] cases,” helping to preserve their dignity in the proceedings.