High Court Justices Appear Skeptical of Private Contempt Prosecutions

, The National Law Journal


In a case closely watched by advocates for domestic abuse victims, several Supreme Court justices on Wednesday expressed serious discomfort with a D.C. law that lets the victims themselves bring criminal prosecutions to enforce restraining orders. The case asks whether these individuals -- often battered women who work without the help of a lawyer -- are acting as agents of the government. During oral argument, at least four justices wondered aloud about the protections afforded to defendants facing such charges.

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