Tomorrow the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral argument in a case that has gotten very little media coverage, on whether a private person protected by a restraining order may bring a criminal contempt action to enforce the order. The petitioner pled guilty to beating the respondent, on the condition that he not be prosecuted for a second beating inflicted after she obtained a restraining order. The respondent brought her own criminal action for contempt for the second beating, and the petitioner received more jail time. He asserts, however, that he has a due process right to be prosecuted by the government, rather than a private person.
Usually, criminal actions are brought by the government This case raises the question of whether private persons can be empowered to bring their own criminal actions, as well as practical concerns about how otherwise restraining orders can be enforced.
Go read the discussion at the link…. this is a subtle one..