Tuesday, March 31, 2020
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Div. Three of the Court of Appeal for this district has opted to order publication of a previously unpublished opinion in which it finds that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James E. Blancarte abused his discretion in placing the burden of proof not on the party seeking a domestic violence restraining order, but on the party opposing it.
Blancarte had been reversed in another case a few weeks earlier based on the same error. In both cases, he had been a court commissioner at the time of his rulings.
The present reversal comes in Curcio v. Pels, 2020 S.O.S. 1450. Justice Anne Egerton wrote the opinion which was filed Feb. 27 and certified for publication on Friday.
The request for publication was made by UCLA Law School Professor Eugene Volokh, who teaches First Amendment Law. The opinion implicates the First Amendment in its holding that stand-up comic Julia Pels’s posting on her Facebook page of derogatory comments about her former girlfriend, Jennifer Curcio, also a comedian, did not justify Blancarte’s issuance of a domestic violence restraining order against Pels.
Egerton also said Blancarte abused his discretion by increasing the restraining order from two to three years because he didn’t like an answer she gave.
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