Law school faculty help Indiana solicitor general prepare Supreme Court argument on domestic violence

Author: Michael O. Garvey and Carol Jambor-Smith


FiveNotre DameLawSchoolfaculty members took part Wednesday (March 8) in a practice, or moot court session with Indiana Solicitor General Thomas M. Fisher, who is preparing to present the states argument before the United States Supreme Court on March 20 in a case involving the balance between law enforcement needs in domestic violence cases and the constitutional right of defendants to confront their accusers.

The session, in which the law faculty played the role of judges, was held in theLawSchools courtroom yesterday (March 8).The professors—-AmyBarrett, G. Robert Blakey, Richard Garnett, Jimmy Gurulé and O. Carter Sneadall have expertise in litigation and oral arguments that Fisher said would be useful in his preparations.

The case, Hershel Hammon vs. State ofIndiana, arises from aMiamiCountydomestic violence prosecution.Fisher believes it is significant not only for future domestic violence cases but also for child and sexual abuse prosecutions in which victims may be unwilling to testify at trial.

A ruling by the Supreme Court should help clarify the issue of crime-scene statements made to police responding to an emergency dispatch, and whether or not these comments can be submitted during a trial,Fisher said.This information can be critical to state prosecutions where victims refuse to testify because they depend emotionally or financially on the defendant, or fear retaliation.

At the same time, however, the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution protects defendants’ rights to cross-examine and confront witnesses against them.

* Contact: * _Richard Garnett at 574-631-6981 or

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