Judgment for humiliation against husband upheld on appeal

The Sala II high court has upheld a 3 million-colon judgement against a dental surgeon based on allegations that he humiliated his wife and caused her public shame and embarrassment.

The case is complex because the dentist is facing a criminal charge in which the wife seeks to obtain money based on the sale of joint property. The dentist’s lawyer argued that he was being charged in two courts over the same set of facts.

The couple were not named in the Poder Judicial summary that was released Tuesday. The case was heard first in the Juzgado de Familia del Primer Circuito Judicial in Pérez Zeledón. The lower court judge, identified as Manuel Rodríguez Arroyo, levied the judgment in 2009 for what was determined to be bad treatment by the husband during the marriage. The allegations included death threats.
The woman said she was forced to move from her home and into a small apartment with her children.

The initial decision was appealed until it reached the Sala II, which upheld the original decision. The court also said that the criminal case and the family court case were two different judicial processes. In the criminal case, the woman is seeking half the proceeds of land sales that the man made.

The judgment is about $6,000.

A proposed law described as providing protection for women criminalizes the allegations that the dentist faced. Under the proposed legislation a man can be jailed for humiliating in public a woman who is his wife or companion. The proposal has had problems because it does not assess the same penalties against a women who does the same, and the Sala IV constitutional court struck down one version based on discrimination.

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