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Mintz’s Pro Bono Practice Secures Important Domestic Violence Appellate Victory

Mintz, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. has secured an important pro bono victory on behalf of a California woman who was the victim of violent sexual attacks by her husband, who was convicted and is serving a six year prison sentence.  A California appeals court this week reversed the trial court’s decision that the couple’s children be instantly reunited with their father upon his release from jail in 2014 without any preconditions.  The trial court also ordered the victim to pay her husband’s alimony, as well as his attorney’s fees in connection with the divorce proceedings.

With a long history of providing pro bono representation to victims of domestic violence, Mintz handled the appeal at the request of DV Leap, a domestic violence prevention advocacy and referral organization. The case, highlighted in a recent Dateline television program, also prompted the California legislature to pass a general ban on alimony and fee awards in divorce proceedings for spouses convicted of raping or violent sexual attacks on their spouse.

"Through the firm's Domestic Violence Project, we have made it our mission to help and support victims of domestic violence and sexual assault on a pro bono basis," said Susan Finegan, member of Mintz’s Litigation Section and chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee.  "The outcome of this case was obviously critically important to the safety and well being of our client and her children and was made possible by the efforts of several attorneys in the San Diego office, who worked tirelessly on her behalf."

“We’re extremely gratified with the outcome of this case,” added Ben Wagner, an attorney in the firm’s Litigation Section who worked on the appeal. “We are pleased with what this decision means, not only for Crystal, but for all victims of spousal assault. Over the past five years, the San Diego office has worked at restraining order clinics, represented victims at hearing for permanent injunctions, and has now successfully completed a number of appeals for victims of domestic violence.”

The Mintz team included Nathan Hamler, Ben Wagner and Justin Nahama.