Rodriguez v. Zavala

398 P.3d 1071 (2017)

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Rodriguez v. Zavala

Washington Supreme Court
398 P.3d 1071 (2017)

  • Written by Haley Gintis, JD

Facts

Esmeralda Rodriguez (plaintiff) and Luis Zavala (defendant) had one son together, L.Z. Because of Zavala’s abuse, Rodriguez ended the relationship and obtained a restraining order against Zavala. Zavala violated the order by entering Rodriguez’s home, attempting to strangle her, and threatening to kill L.Z. and Rodriguez’s three daughters from a prior relationship. Rodriguez’s daughters witnessed the attack and contacted the police. Zavala was arrested. L.Z. slept through the incident. After the incident, Rodriguez petitioned for a domestic-violence protective order to protect herself and the children. The trial court issued a temporary order and held a hearing to determine whether a more permanent protective order was warranted. At the hearing, Rodriguez described Zavala’s abuse and the strangulation incident. Rodriguez also explained that she feared for the children’s safety. The trial court issued a domestic-violence protective order for Rodriguez, as the petitioner, and for her daughters, who had witnessed the incident. The trial court excluded L.Z. from the protective order on the ground that he had not witnessed the attack and had no threat to his own safety. Rodriguez appealed. The Washington Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision, holding that a petitioner could not obtain a domestic-violence protective order for another individual on the ground that the petitioner had a fear of imminent harm to the other individual. The matter was appealed to the Washington Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Gonzalez, J.)

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