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Abuse and Discretion: Evaluating Judicial Discretion in Custody Cases Involving Violence Against Women

Conner, D.
Year Published: 2009
Journal Article
American University, Washington College of Law
Journal of Gender, Social Policy, & the Law, Volume 17(2): 163-228, 2009
Widener University School of Law

In this article, the author explores the history and creation of the broad power of the custody trial judge, the standards applied in custody cases involving violence against women, and the system's ability to adequately review flawed decisions at the appellate level. She deconstructs both the process of judicial decision-making at the trial court level in custody cases involving batterers and the standards applied to these cases at the appellate court stage. The author also proposes a multi-level approach to resolving the domestic violence dilemma in a custody case. In addition, she recommends a more liberal standard of review in custody cases involving intimate partner violence. Because the reasons that support a new standard of review are particular to the question presented on appeal, the author analyzes each distinct issue on appeal and provides support for a liberalized standard of review for most circumstances relating to custody cases involving violence against women.

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