Home / Opinion / Civil Rights — equal protection

Civil Rights — equal protection

United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit


Civil Rights — equal protection

Police officers’ failure to protect a woman from domestic violence does not violate the Equal Protection Clause.

“To obtain relief, a plaintiff must show intentional discrimination—that the defendants wanted men (but not women) left at large to injure their domestic partners. Feeney holds that it is not enough to show that state actors knew that women would fare worse than men under an official policy; instead the plaintiff must show that the state actors adopted that policy because of, not in spite of or with indifference to, its effect on women. Id. at 279. Yet Bond’s complaint does not allege that any defendant decided to give domestic-relations crimes a low priority because that would injure women. The allegation instead is that the defendants thought that Bond and Omo-Osagie were just involved in a ‘messy divorce’ in which the risk of serious violence was modest compared with other crimes such as murder, rape, armed robbery, financial fraud, and sexual abuse of minors. This a sex-neutral reason. Defendants were wrong about the risk Omo-Osagie posed to Bond, but the Constitution does not guarantee mistake-free law enforcement.”

Vacated and Remanded.

11-3275 & 11-3559 Bond v. Atkinson

Appeals from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, McCuskey, J., Easterbrook, J.

Leave a Comment