NOTE: Course offerings change. Classes offered this semester may not be offered in future semesters.

282.1 sec. 1 - Domestic Violence Law (Fall 2012)

Instructor: Nancy K.D. Lemon  (view instructor's teaching evaluations | profile)
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Units: 3
Meeting Time: M 6:25-9:05
Meeting Location: 115

Course Start: August 27, 2012
Course Control Number (Non-1Ls): 49778

This course will examine the legal system's response to domestic violence. Using an interdisciplinary approach, we will cover historical and psychological materials as well as topics in criminal, family, tort, immigration, welfare, human rights, and constitutional law. Ethical and policy issues will be included throughout, as will discussion of how domestic violence affects different groups - people of color, disabled women, etc.

Class will include discussion of problems of protective orders, and the efficacy of mandatory arrest and no-drop prosecution policies. In the realm of family law, the class will consider how domestic violence is or should be taken to account in custody proceedings, examining how alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation, work or don't work in the context of domestic violence. The class will also look at interstate custody problems affecting battered women who flee with their children.

The course will consider how traditional intentional torts have applied to domestic violence, and the erosion of interspousal immunity. The liability of police departments and other government bodies for failure to enforce protective orders or to otherwise act to protect victims of domestic violence will also be an issue. The class will evaluate welfare issues affecting battered women. The legal rights and problems of immigrant and refugee battered women will also be covered. The pros and cons of medical personnel reporting domestic violence to police will also be addressed. The class will cover survivors of domestic violence as complaining witnesses and as defendants, including the claim of self-defense, and the use of expert testimony on the common experiences of such survivors.

We will use a group discussion format, with each student leading part of one class. Several guest speakers and DVD's will be included. The course is graded. A paper in lieu of a final exam is possible, and the paper can be the first draft of a writing requirement to be completed the next semester. No limit on enrollment.

Nancy Lemon also teaches the Domestic Violence Practicum, 295.6J and 283Q, each spring. While students are allowed to take the practicum without taking the seminar first, they are encouraged to enroll in both courses. Students may take the practicum multiple semesters. In the practicum, students work in non-profit offices around the Bay Area or with Nancy Lemon on policy issues. Topics students work on in the practicum include prosecution, criminal defense, immigration and asylum law, family law, employment issues, housing, and public benefits. For more information, go to

Exam Notes: F
Course Category: Family Law
This course is cross-listed in the following categories:
Criminal Law
Social Justice and Public Interest

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Required Books are in blue

  • Domestic Violence Law
    Nancy K. D. Lemon,
    Publisher: West
    ISBN: 9780314907011
    Copyright Date: To Be Determined
    Price: $59.19
    Note: prices are sampled from internet bookstores. Folletts prices are unavailable at this time.

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