International Commission Finds United States Denied Justice to Domestic Violence Survivor Jessica (Lenahan) Gonzales v. United States

In the first case brought by a survivor of domestic violence against the U.S. before an international human rights tribunal, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) found in a highly important and novel decision that the United States violated the human rights of Jessica Lenahan (formerly Gonzales) and her children. The decision found that failure to enforce a restraining order and indifference to domestic violence led to her daughters’ deaths.

This case was previously heard by the United States Supreme Court as Jessica Gonzales v Town of Castle Rock, which held that the Castle Rock, Colorado police department had no duty to enforce her order of protection, notwithstanding the mandatory arrest law that Colorado had, and the language on her order saying that the police would arrest her husband if he violated the order. What does this mean for the United States and for the domestic violence community?

Join us on Thursday, September 15, 2011 from Noon to 1:30 pm, EST.

Presenters: Jessica (Lenahan) Gonzales, is a domestic violence survivor from Colorado whose three children were killed when local police failed to enforce a restraining order against her estranged husband. The Supreme Court found that the police had no constitutional duty to enforce her restraining order. Professor Caroline Bettinger-Lopez, Director of the Human Rights Clinic at University of Miami Law. Lead Attorney for Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales) in her case before the IACHR. Joan Zorza, Editor of the Domestic Violence Report, has been a long time advocate for battered women for over 40 years. Before retiring from practice she represented more than 2,000 battered women.

Also invited: Jonathan M Smith, Chief of the Special Litigation Section, Civil Rights Division, Department of Justice. Mr. Smith is charged with enforcing federal civil rights and overseeing the conduct of law enforcement agencies.