The Supreme Court will decide whether the failure by the police to enforce a protective court order violated a woman’s constitutional right to due process. The New York Times notes that lower courts have produced conflicting answers. In this case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, voted 6 to 5 to permit the woman’s lawsuit against the town of Castle Rock, Co., to proceed to trial. A trial court had dismissed the suit, in which Jessica Gonzales, is seeking $30 million in compensatory damages and millions more in punitive damages.
Colorado law requires police to provide protection once an order is issued. The 10th Circuit said Gonzales had presented a plausible case that the police had failed to follow proper procedure in disregarding her repeated requests for help after her husband had kidnapped the three girls – ages 7, 9 and 10 – from the yard of their house in 1999. Police failed to take any action, even when Ms. Gonzales learned that her husband, Simon Gonzales, was with the girls at a local amusement park.