Thursday, July 25, 2002
Davis Signs Bill Giving Victims of Domestic Violence More Time to File Suits
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Gov. Gray Davis has signed a bill giving domestic violence victims more time to sue for damages and the opportunity to collect attorney’s fees from a violent spouse or boyfriend.
AB 1933, authored by Assemblywoman Sarah Reyes, D-Fresno, was signed into law on July 17 and will take effect Jan. 1, 2003.
Davis acknowledged that “[v]ictims of domestic violence already have enough troubles. There is no reason to allow the legal system to re-victimize them by not providing them the full measure of justice,” according to a release from his office.
The new law makes a new tort for domestic violence, extending the statute of limitations for filing civil charges from one year to three years. Reyes’ spokesman Dan Roth said the reason for the extension is to allow women, who’s cases are held up in family court beyond the one-year limit, would still be able to file suit for civil damages.
AB 1933 also gives courts the right to award domestic violence victims attorney’s fees—a right provided by the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, which was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, Roth said.
In U.S. v. Morrison, the Supreme Court determined by a vote of 5-4 that certain provisions of the Violence Against Women Act overstepped the boundaries of federal law, Roth said. Specifically, it left states with the task of providing domestic violence victims increased rights to recover damages, and AB 1933 addresses that need, Roth said.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company