The Stream of Violence: A New Approach to Domestic Violence Personal Jurisdiction
58 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2016 Last revised: 19 Apr 2016
Date Written: March 24, 2016
There is a split among state courts about whether personal jurisdiction over an alleged domestic violence perpetrator is required in order to obtain a civil protection order preventing the defendant from contacting the victim. Some courts have held that such orders interfere with the defendant’s liberty interests, and therefore personal jurisdiction is a requirement under the Due Process Clause for the validity of such orders. Other courts have held that personal jurisdiction is not required because such protection orders are analogous to custody and divorce orders which have historically been entered by courts without establishing personal jurisdiction over the other party under the “status exception.” This Article argues that the focus on the status exception is misplaced and that instead, courts should reframe the way they look at personal jurisdiction in domestic violence cases by applying the principals embedded in the stream of commerce doctrine and the effects test. Drawing upon common threads from each line of cases, the Article proposes a test for domestic violence jurisdiction that focuses on the knowledge of the defendant about the victim’s likely destination if she is forced to flee to another state.
Keywords: jurisdiction, domestic violence, status exception, due process, stream of commerce, effects test, protective order
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