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Attorney general asks state Supreme Court to rehear domestic violence case

Alan Wilson (Source: SC Attorney General's Office) Alan Wilson (Source: SC Attorney General's Office)
COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) -

South Carolina's attorney general is asking the state's Supreme Court to reconsider a case that removed domestic violence protections for couples who live together or did in the past.

Attorney General Alan Wilson filed for a rehearing Tuesday on the high court's recent ruling in the case Jane Doe v. State.

The case was brought by a woman who sued on equal protection grounds because the state’s domestic violence law does not include protection for same-sex couples, Attorney General's Office spokesman Robert Kittle said. The Court agreed with her but threw out the entire section of the law, meaning same-sex and opposite-sex couples who live together, or did in the past, aren’t protected, he said.

The state and lawyers for Jane Doe united in asking for a rehearing, and the Court has agreed to hold-off on its ruling until it decides whether to rehear the case.

“The decision has thrown the law enforcement, prosecutorial, and victims advocacy communities, as well as the lower courts, into confusion, not knowing the status of pending cases, or even whether the ruling retroactively reopens previous convictions,” Wilson argued in his motion.

In the original brief on the case, Attorney General Wilson wrote, “Should the Court find a constitutional violation in this case, we urge it to add same-sex couples to the definition of ‘household member,’ rather than taking the drastic step of striking the entire statute.”

There is no time frame for when the Supreme Court will decide whether to rehear the case.

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