A California “fill-in” judge allegedly more or less shooed an illegal alien, who was seeking a restraining order against her husband, out of his courtroom – for what he thought was her own good.
Although the judge reportedly wanted only to spare her from being deported, his concern was completely unnecessary.
First, federal law protects immigrants who are victims of domestic violence. Second, turning her over to immigration authorities was outside the province of the court.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, the only reason that the woman’s legal status in this country came up on the courtroom record was because the judge delved into it with his questions – even though it was totally irrelevant to her application for an order of protection.
The judge’s misguided concerns over the woman’s right to stay in this country potentially placed her at risk of serious bodily harm.
Incidents like this underscore the importance of interdisciplinary training of judges in areas of law often overlapping with family and domestic violence law.