I am interested in any resources you know of which deal with the question of cross examination rights being denied in domestic violence, restraining order courts.
Here in California, we have courts hearing protective order applications in a "Jerry Springer" style, where in the majority of cases, one litigant, probably both, are not represented by counsel, and the judge takes a statement of accusation from the applicant, then asks the respondent about it, and goes back and forth until announcing a decision.
It seems this procedure, if it can even be called that, is commonplace in most California counties and probably around the country.
A common problem in all this is that, even if the accused person knows of questions which would greatly impeach the accuser, he is not asked if he has any questions, and often, as in the case of my appeal, if he asks the Court to ask questions, is simply blown off at the Court's whim, without any reason being given, unless of course he has an attorney.
In other words, the right to confrontation is often denied to the accused person. This is so even despite a California Supreme Court case, Elkins, which restates that litigants in family court, (where these order are issued under CA Family Code 6200) retain all procedural rights that other civil litigants have.
I am hoping you have knowledge of academics, judicial councils, state Bar associations, etc, who have expressed concern that basic due process rights, as I say confrontation being primary, are denied in these hearings.
Please let me know of anything that will help.
So, first off, the Confrontation Clause as such does not apply -- it only applies to criminal prosecutions. But in other contexts, a right of confrontation is incorporated in the right of due process. The key case is Morrissey v. Brewer, 408 U. S. 471 (1972), which involved revocation of parole. It seems to me that the situation posed by the reader – a hearing with significant consequences for the litigant, witnesses testifying from the stand, and the litigant not given an opportunity to pose any cross-examination – presents a strong case for holding that the due-process right to confrontation has been violated. The basic concept that if a witness testifies for one side the other side gets to cross-examine that witness is deeply established in Anglo-American jurisprudence.
The interesting problem, it seems to me, will arise if the state, in a non-criminal context, decides not to present a live witness because it is aware of the due-process confrontation right, and instead presents, say, a video-tape of a statement taken beforehand for use in the hearing. Effectively, the witness has been able to testify without coming to court; the idea that statements made out of court with litigation in mind may be deemed to be testimonial, and the focus of the confrontation right, lies at the heart of Crawford, and has force in this context as well. But presumably a narrower view of what should be considered testimonial, or a broader set of exceptions, or a looser sense of what the right means, or some combination of the three, must apply in this context than in the criminal context. If the approach the Supreme Court used in the Confrontation Clause context in Michigan v. Bryant had instead been applied in other contexts such as hearings for restraining orders or parole revocation, it wouldn't have been nearly so bad.