Suk explores the unintended consequences of domestic violence laws

In a recent interview with Toby Stock, Dean of Admissions, Harvard Law School Assistant Professor Jeannie Suk discusses her article, “Criminal Law Comes Home,” which examines how misdemeanor law regulates domestic violence.

In the article, Suk explores the power of misdemeanor laws, but also their problems, including the way they can sometimes undermine the autonomy of the women they are intended to help.

“We’re in a stage where we’ve seen prosecutors and law enforcement officials use criminal law in ways that it hasn’t been used before; not just to arrest people, but to require that husband and wives permanently stay apart.”

Suk, well known for her focus in Family Law, is writing her first book, “At Home in the Law,” which highlights the concept of the home and how it shapes legal doctrine, legal discourse and criminal procedure.

“In the last 30 years we’ve seen a major shift in how legal cultures think about the home and the paradigm of women beaten at home. The gendered notion of subordination has become quite central to the legal discourse and doctrine.”

Along with teaching a course on Family Law this spring, Professor Suk also leads the 1L reading group — Readings in Law and Humanities.

Listen to the interview with Jeanne Suk.