Vague DV Law Destroys Families and the First Amendment

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Alexander Baker
Alexander Baker signed this petition

California's so-called Domestic Violence Prevention Act ("DVPA") has a definition of "abuse" that is so vague, a restraining order can be issued simply because the other person got emotionally upset, for whatever reason.

This is not an exaggeration. This unconstitutional law is being used every day to destroy families and careers. 

The DVPA lists many behaviors that can constitute domestic violence, and most of the things in the list are as they should be. The law prohibits physical violence such as hitting, sexual assault and the like. It also prohibits threatening the other person so that they experience the fear of bodily harm. Those parts of the DVPA are good and necessary. There is such a thing as domestic violence, and we need restraining orders where that is happening. 

But...

The  DVPA also has what is called a "residual clause" -  another, different list. And in that residual clause is "disturbing the peace" of the other person. Courts have determined that "disturbing the peace" can include "disturbing the peace of mind", which the Court has explained means:

Any conduct that "destroys the mental or emotional calm" of the other person. 

So, if you are in California, and you have ever been in a relationship, and the other person ever became emotionally upset because of something you said or did, then you can be found guilty of domestic violence. And when you are, your name will be entered into the CLETS database - a criminal database along with murderers and pedophiles - so that all of your future employers can see.

You will typically lose custody of your children. And, you can have your other fundamental civil rights taken away - such as your First Amendment rights to Free Speech, and to Petition the Government for Redress of Grievances (i.e. file a civil lawsuit). You will lose your right to carry a firearm, a career-ender for law enforcement and military. 

These DVPA restraining orders are routinely abused and misused in California Family Court proceedings, not because there is any domestic violence, but as a strategic tactic to "win" at divorce, by perpetrating parental alienation. Once a loving parent has lost their children and their career, they will concede just about anything to try to get their life back. 

A Petition for Writ of Certiorari has been filed to the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking to strike down the DVPA residual clause as unconstitutionally vague. This vague portion of the law is "severable", meaning the High Court can get rid of the bad part of the law, while leaving the necessary good part of the law intact. You can read it here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1mKwJkhYL9Z88MKvG2s_Iu8LQOD6t-Q3N/view

By signing this Change.org Petition, you support the effort to strike the residual clause definition of "abuse" from the DVPA. You believe that the ACLU should take up this civil rights cause, and support the Supreme Court case with an Amicus Curiae (Friend of the Court) brief.

Stop separating families. Stop Court-assisted parental alienation.