Presented by The Women of Color Policy Network at NYU Wagner and Law Students for Human Rights

 

On October 22, 2008, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights held its second hearing in the case of Jessica Gonzales v. United States.  In 2000, Ms. Gonzales (now Jessica Lenahan) filed a § 1983 lawsuit against the Castle Rock, Colorado Police Department and individual officers after they ignored her repeated calls for assistance with locating her children and enforcing her restraining order against her estranged husband Simon Gonzales, who had kidnapped them. Tragically, 10 hours after her first call to the police, her husband died in a shootout with the police, and her daughters were found dead in the back of his truck, positioned directly behind him. To this day, it is not known whether they were killed by Simon Gonzales earlier that evening or in the hailstorm of police bullets. In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Ms. Lenahan’s case, finding that she had no constitutional due process right to enforcement of her restraining order.  Having exhausted all of her domestic remedies, Ms. Lenahan filed a case before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), an international human rights tribunal that is part of the organization of American States (OAS) and is responsible for the promotion of human rights in the Americas (North, South, and Central America and the Caribbean).

 

Carrie Bettinger-Lopez, Deputy Director of the Human Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School, has coordinated meetings of U.S.-based domestic violence advocates who work at the national, state, and local levels to discuss how the Gonzales case, and human rights strategies more generally, can be used in domestic violence advocacy.  Her work includes consideration of strategies at the legislative, litigation, public education, law enforcement training, and other levels.

 

Food will be served and you will need a photo ID to enter the building.