I doubt I will ever find myself representing, or going up against, a bona fide superhero in Family Court, but, I can only imagine how it must have felt for the attorney arguing on behalf of his client, literally named “Captain America”, for the reversal of the Wadena County District Court’s issuance of a domestic abuse
order for protection against his client, Steven “Captain America” Rogers. This case presents some interesting parallels with the better-known Marvel character’s struggles with his past.
Steven “Captain America” Rogers (actual name, including the superhero reference, although not the fictional superhero), a Minnesota resident, had a domestic abuse order for protection issued against him in favor of his estranged wife, in Wadena County District Court in February 2016.
The order was granted after Rogers, who had a child with his estranged wife, abruptly and unannounced, removed the child (who was living with the wife) from school; this was after three years of living separately.
Feeling unnerved about the threat of her child being taken from her, the wife asked the court to grant a domestic abuse order for protection, arguing that Rogers’ act of removing the child from school unannounced, along with a series of threats and violent behavior made prior to their separation three years ago, placed the wife in fear of imminent physical harm, injury or assault. The district court agreed with the wife, and a domestic abuse order for protection was granted.
A domestic abuse order for protection is a ’no contact’ order that is granted in district court, against individuals who are found, after a court hearing, to have engaged in acts of domestic abuse, which can include an assault, or threats of assault, which have the effect of causing fear of imminent harm to a family member or someone with whom the perpetrator is in a ‘domestic relationship’. A domestic abuse order for protection is granted for up to two years, and can be extended for up to fifty years.
In Rogers’ case, the court found that Rogers’ past threats to kill his wife, along with the present act of removing the child from school, were enough to meet the definition of domestic abuse, the domestic abuse order for protection was granted.
Rogers challenged this finding, and although he did not deny that he had made violent threats in the past, he opined that these threats were “stale and irrelevant” because they happened so long ago. Rogers was asked the Court to refrain from revisiting his past. The Court, however, took a great interest in his past.
For those familiar with the Marvel Comics depiction of Captain America, the struggles faced by Captain America include his efforts to reconcile his past with issues faced in the present day. Captain America was trapped in ice in WWII, and then revived in the present day. I submit that the fictional Captain America seems to have had greater success in reconciling the past, than the Rogers in this case.
Rogers, according to the Court of Appeals, demonstrated “an intent to cause fear” to his wife, by his present actions, coupled with past instances of domestic abuse. Accordingly, it was appropriate to find that an act of domestic abuse occurred, and, the domestic violence order for protection was affirmed.
In a domestic abuse case, not even “Captain America” can keep a Court from looking into the past.
Contact Beyer & Simonson
If you are facing divorce and any of the divorce-related issues such as spousal maintenance, child support, child custody, property division, or domestic abuse matters, you need our experienced Minneapolis divorce attorneys to help you. Contact Beyer & Simonson in Edina, Minnesota today at (952) 303-6007.