Domestic Violence: Laws For Restraining Orders And Habitual Offenders Essay

Length: 4 pages Sources: 6 Subject: Business - Law Type: Essay Paper: #29665888 Related Topics: Domestic Violence, Law Enforcement, Female Prisons, Federal Laws

Excerpt from Essay :

Combating Domestic Abuse in the United States Domestic Abuse

In the United States, intimate partner violence afflicted nearly 4 out of 1,000 persons aged 12 or older in 2010, down from 1 in 100 in 1994 (Catalano, 2012). This translates into 0.9 million victimizations for the most recent year in which data were available. Females are victimized more often than males, however, with one male victimized for every six females. The crimes include rape, robbery, and assault against spouses and girlfriends/boyfriends, current or former. Family violence victimization rates were similar, with about 2.1 victimizations per 1,000 citizens aged 12 years or over in 2002, the most recent year with for which data is available (Durose et al., 2005). To put this statistic in perspective, approximately one in ten violent victimizations within the U.S. is the result of family violence. The gradual decline in domestic violence rates could be due to the passage of tougher laws sanctioning offenders. This essay examines two of these laws and a few of the court cases that resulted.

Federal Solutions

Although the rates are on the decline, Congress has not rested on this good news and passed a three-strikes law affecting domestic violence offenders in 2011. This law is titled Domestic Assault by an Habitual Offender (2011) and imposes federal jurisdiction over any offender who has committed a domestic assault at least three times in the past. The jurisdiction extends to all U.S. states, territories, and Indian reservations, in an attempt to address the shocking prevalence of domestic violence occurring on tribal lands. The qualifying prior convictions could have been in a federal, state, or Indian tribal court, thereby rendering the most recent offense subject to federal prosecution under the habitual offender statute. The crimes covered include any assault,


The statute also applies to all offenses covered under Title 18, Chapter 110A, Sexual Exploitation and Other Abuse of Children. The penalties imposed can range from a fine and/or a prison term not to exceed 5 years, but if serious bodily injury resulted from the offense then the prison term could be as long as 10 years. One of the earliest cases of domestic violence prosecuted under the habitual offender statute (2011) took place in North Dakota. Roman Cavanaugh Jr. from Fort Totten had previous domestic abuse convictions in tribal court, two in 2005 and one in 2008 (Kolpack, 2012). The 2008 charge was based on an allegation by Cavanaugh's wife that he slammed her head against a car dashboard and then threatened to kill her. The district court judge hearing the case threw the conviction out because Cavanaugh had not had the benefit of counsel in tribal court (U.S. v. Cavanaugh, Jr., 2012). The Department of Justice appealed and the Eighth Circuit reversed and remanded the decision back to the lower court. The opinion of the appeals court was written by Chief Judge Melloy, who acknowledged that Cavanaugh's prior misdemeanor convictions, for which he served jail time, would have violated the Sixth Amendment right to counsel if the cases had been tried in state courts. Reversal of the lower court's dismissal of the habitual offender charge was based on the lack of wording in the Sixth Amendment requiring tribal courts to provide counsel for indigent defendants. Judge Melloy also acknowledged that prior habitual offender cases may be 'infirm' for the purposes of establishing guilt, enhancing a sentence, or determining a sentence for a subsequent offense; however, in the case before them the appeals court believed the prior convictions were valid enough to confer standing to federal prosecutors under the…

Sources Used in Documents:


Catalano, S. (2012). Intimate partner violence, 1993-2010. NCJ 239203. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved from

Domestic Assault by an Habitual Offender, 18 U.S.C.Z. § 117 (2011).

Durose, M.R., Harlow, C.W., Langan, P.A., Motivans, M., Rantala, R.R., & Smith, E.L. (2005). Family violence statistics: Including statistics on strangers and acquaintances. NCJ 207846. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved from Bureau of Justice Statistics, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

Kolpack, D. (2012, September 19). ND man sentenced in pivotal domestic violence case. Native American Times. Retrieved from

Cite this Document:

"Domestic Violence Laws For Restraining Orders And Habitual Offenders" (2015, March 02) Retrieved June 7, 2023, from

"Domestic Violence Laws For Restraining Orders And Habitual Offenders" 02 March 2015. Web.7 June. 2023. <>

"Domestic Violence Laws For Restraining Orders And Habitual Offenders", 02 March 2015, Accessed.7 June. 2023,

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