The Courts, Intimate Partner Violence and Mental Illness: The Case of Dwight Lamon Jones

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Abstract

Through the lens of the high-profile spree killing perpetrated by Dwight Lamon Jones in 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona, this article examines the way the criminal and civil courts grappled with assessing the significance, extent, and outcome of the IPV and abuse directed at Dr. Connie Jones, Dwight Jones’s former wife. The case is unusual, not least because Dr. Jones had an upper middle-class income and numerous resources IPV victims do not normally enjoy. Nevertheless, she felt the courts let her family down. Journalists, victim advocates, and others also criticized the Arizona courts. The article outlines the spree killing and the criticisms of the courts, narrates Jones over a period of nine years including the IPV and mental illness, and, through the work of the Study Committee convened by Arizona Chief Justice Bales, explores the potential use of IPV risk assessments in the courts, particularly the family court, and related matters. It concludes with recommendations regarding possible preventive interventions in IPV cases, including those addressing mental illness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-85
Number of pages29
JournalJuvenile and Family Court Journal
Volume71
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

Keywords

  • criminal and family court
  • due process
  • fair justice
  • intimate partner violence
  • mental illness
  • relative and absolute risk
  • risk assessment
  • rule of law

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Law

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