Rights Litigation Project

Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project

Rights Litigation Project

Until DV LEAP was founded, there had never been a domestic violence case in the Supreme Court in which the domestic violence was a central issue in the case.  Yet within the first five years of DV LEAP’s existence, three such cases reached the high court.  Castle Rock v. Gonzales; Davis v. Washington; Giles v. California.  DV LEAP played a critical role in all three cases, and is committed to continuing to lead the domestic violence community’s advocacy in that sphere. 

Click here to learn about specific cases.

Law Reform

DV LEAP has consulted with the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee regarding legislation addressing the Supreme Court’s confrontation clause jurisprudence and its impact on the criminal prosecution of domestic violence. DV LEAP monitors state court litigation since the Supreme Court's decisions in Crawford v. Washington (2004) and Davis v. Washington (2006) to ensure that we are involved in cases of potential national importance.

Trainings and Presentations

DV LEAP has delivered numerous public presentations concerning both Castle Rock and Davis to local and national groups of domestic violence advocates and experts, concerned citizens, and attorneys.  These include:

  • July 2006, George Washington University Law School, faculty presentation on Davis/Hammon case (with Professor Laird Kirkpatrick).
  • June 2006, Jewish Women International Teleconference on "A Discussion with the Experts About the Latest Supreme Court Decisions and How They Relate to Domestic Violence."  Ms. Meier spoke about Hammon/Davis decision, DV LEAP's advocacy, and the implications for future prosecutions of domestic violence.
  • April 2006, Georgetown University Law Center Domestic Violence Clinic:  Ms. Meier was a guest speaker during the Clinic's seminar class and delivered a presentation on "Cutting-Edge Domestic Violence Civil Rights Litigation."
  • March 2006, George Washington University Law School, "The Confrontation Clause vs. Effective Domestic Violence Prosecution? A Panel Discussion of the Pending Hammon/Davis Cases Before the Supreme Court":  Ms. Meier organized a panel of distinguished speakers, including the lead authors of key briefs from the United States Attorney's Office and the D.C. Public Defender Service, to discuss their positions in the case. 
  • March 2006, University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Conference on the Castle Rock case: Ms. Meier was an invited keynote speaker.  She spoke on the need for a new, more holistic perspective on domestic violence in order to transcend current misconceptions and paradigms which lead to system failure.
  • February 2006, D.C. Bar Family Law Section: Ms. Meier presented a talk on "Justice in the Application of the Confrontation Clause to Domestic Violence Prosecutions."
  • October 2005, Safe Nest 22nd Annual Domestic Violence Awareness Luncheon, Las Vegas, Nevada: Ms. Meier was an invited keynote speaker on City of Castle Rock v. Gonzalez.
  • September 2005, Zonta Club of Washington D.C., Annual Dinner:  Ms. Meier presented an invited speech on the Castle Rock case and DV LEAP.
  • June 2005, Greenbook Initiative 2005 All-Sites Conference, Colorado Springs, Colorado: Ms. Meier led a discussion of the Castle Rock  case and its implications for legal advocacy for battered women.
  • June 2005, National Network to End Domestic Violence Annual Conference and Lobby Day:  Ms. Meier gave a speech on City of Castle Rock v. Gonzalez.
  • April 2005, Georgetown University Law Center Domestic Violence Clinic: Ms. Meier gave a guest presentation for the Clinic's seminar on "Domestic Violence Advocacy in the Supreme Court in the Castle Rock case."


DV LEAP publishes articles regarding the Supreme Court's confrontation clause jurisprudence and other constitutional rights issues and the impact of these doctrines on domestic violence cases.  Following are selected publications:

  • Best Practices for Taking Appeals in Custody and Abuse Cases:  Practitioner's Checklist
  • "Davis/Hammon, Domestic Violence, and the Supreme Court: The Case for Cautious Optimism." 105 Michigan Law Review First Impressions 22-27 (2006). Available at: http://students.law.umich.edu/mlr/firstimpressions/vol105/meier.pdf
  • "Recent Developments: Double Jeopardy and Enforcement of Civil Protection Orders" 1 Texas Journal of Women and Law 269 (1992)(with Cahn, Naomi)
  • "The 'Right' to a Disinterested Prosecutor of Criminal Contempt: Unpacking Public and Private Interests." 70 Washington Law Quarterly 85 (1992)