S.Ct. Feb. 16, 2010

No. 07SC1088 People v. DisherDomestic Violence Statute – Meaning of the term “Intimate Relationship” in the Domestic Violence Statute

The supreme court holds that evidence of a sexual relationship is not necessary to establish the existence of an intimate relationship for the purpose of the domestic violence statute. Intimate relationships can be sexual, but they need not be. To impose a domestic violence sentence enhancer, a court must find that an intimate relationship exists or existed between the perpetrator and the victim, and should consider such factors as the length of time the relationship existed, the type of relationship, and frequency of interaction between the parties. In this case, the supreme court reverses the lower court’s refusal to order a domestic violence sentence enhancer after the defendant was convicted of harassing a woman with whom he had an exclusive dating relationship.