October 2013 • Vol. 33 No. 10 | An E-Publication of the Los Angeles County Bar Association

L.A. District Attorney Jackie Lacey Speaks to Domestic Violence Project Volunteers

Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey set the tone of LACBA's Domestic Violence Project's September 10 training seminar by describing a brutal case of domestic violence that changed the way the District Attorney's Office handles such cases. 

Ms. Lacey described a recent case in which the defense convinced the judicial officer to release the defendant, allowing him to get his affairs in order prior to self-surrendering for a negotiated prison term plea. The District Attorney did not request a Criminal Protective Order (CPO). Upon hearing of the defendant’s release, his wife became terrified and telephoned law enforcement, certain that the defendant would soon seek her out. As there was no CPO in place and no law yet unbroken, the police were unable to assuage her worries. A short time later, the defendant murdered his wife.

As a result, the District Attorney’s Office tightened its rules and procedures regarding CPOs.

“When someone of Jackie Lacey’s stature and position volunteers to be our featured guest speaker, all of the attendees understand the importance of our training and the importance of volunteering for such crucial work,” said Debbie Kelly, Directing Attorney, LACBA Domestic Violence Project. 

Operating in both the Downtown Los Angeles and Pasadena courthouses, the Domestic Violence Project (DVP) provides pro bono legal services to victims and their children, enabling them to obtain temporary and permanent restraining orders. Since 1986, DVP, in partnership with the Los Angeles Superior Court, has provided these services to more than 100,000 persons, as well as creating a meaningful pro bono opportunity for attorneys, law students, and paralegals.

The training for new volunteers covers, among other things:

  • The law as it relates to intimate partners and domestic violence
  • Psychological profiles of the victim and the batterer, including the wheel of violence and lethality risk assessment
  • Proper preparation of a petition for a temporary restraining order
  • Proof of service
  • Fashioning a relevant and legally sufficient declaration, creating a nexus between the facts and legal relief sought
  • Real-life factual vignettes in a small-group workshop setting

Debbie Kelly said, “According to the ABA, 86% of the women who obtain a TRO report that the violence diminishes or ceases. The Domestic Violence Project appreciated Ms. Lacey’s presence at the training seminar because she illustrated to volunteers that their promise to assist those in need is a commitment to justice.”

To read more about the Domestic Violence Project, please click HERE. To find out about volunteer opportunities, please contact Directing Attorney Debbie Kelly at dkelly@lacba.org or (213) 896-6491.

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