Professor Paul Cassell joined attorney Rebecca Roe and Meg Garvin in filing a brief urging that domestic violence charges against U.S. Women’s National Team goalkeeper Hope Solo be reinstated. In the brief filed Friday in King County Superior Court, Cassell and the other lawyers argued that a lower court decision dismissing the charges was “unsupported” and “failed to consider the rights of crime victims.”
The case arose from domestic violence charges were filed in Washington state court. The charges alleged that Solo had assaulted two relatives in June 2014 at a home in the Seattle area. In January 2015, a judge dismissed the charges, and prosecutors appealed to King County Superior Court.
The brief filed by Cassell argues that the dismissal should be overturned. The brief explains that the trial court had improperly based its dismissal on the crime victims’ refusal to answer questions about confidentially and privileged medical issues. More broadly, the brief argues that domestic violence victims should not be forced to waive their right to confidentiality in medical conditions as the price for cooperating with a criminal prosecution. The brief warns that unless the lower court ruling is overturned, it “could set a precedent that can be used to block many prosecutions of abusers.”
Ms. Roe is counsel of record in the case and Ms. Garvin is the executive director the National Crime Victim Law Institute, the organization whose views the brief contains. Cassell worked on the case through the University of Utah Appellate Clinic. A full copy of the brief can be found here.