BECAUSE THERE WON’T BE A “NEXT TIME”: WHY JUSTICE COURT IS AN INAPPROPRIATE FORUM FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASES

Abstract

Given the gravity and prevalence of domestic violence in our society, the issue deserves to be confronted with equal weight in our courts. As it stands now in Utah, the majority of these cases are prosecuted in justice court. Justice courts serve a unique and important function within the court system as a whole. The justice court model was designed to increase efficiency and promote informality. This model was not, however, designed to address the complicated and confusing needs of domestic violence offenders and victims. Most importantly, many of the reasons for implementing justice courts are the very reasons why these courts are inappropriate for such cases. Problems inherent in the nature of domestic violence cases warrant reconsideration of this practice. These cases should not be addressed alongside traffic and loitering tickets. Domestic violence offenders differ greatly from the petty criminals more often seen by these courts, and should be treated accordingly. The main goals of domestic violence statutes are to reduce violence in the community, keep victims safe, and hold perpetrators accountable. The victim impacts and societal harms that accompany these cases often require particular and creative remedies to further these goals. Too often, the informality and income-generating goals of the justice court system stand in direct conflict with the needs of the parties in a domestic violence case. Part I of this Note will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of the justice court system. This Note does not intend to provide an in-depth analysis of the history or progress of the system, but rather a brief introduction to both its functions and shortcomings. Part II will address the complex and distinctive issues associated with domestic violence. Part III will, in turn, analyze how this particular type of case works within the dynamics of the justice court system. Part IV suggests various options, both dramatic and modest, to address the problems that are uniquely magnified when domestic violence is prosecuted in a justice court setting.
How to Cite
. BECAUSE THERE WON’T BE A “NEXT TIME”: WHY JUSTICE COURT IS AN INAPPROPRIATE FORUM FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASES. Journal of Law and Family Studies, [S.l.], v. 13, n. 2, sep. 2011. Available at: <http://epubs.utah.edu/index.php/jlfs/article/view/557>. Date accessed: 23 nov. 2017.
Section
Notes