Calley’s Law: Madera mother killed by estranged husband sparks change in California’s domestic violence law

Local News

MADERA COUNTY, California. (KSEE) – The tragic murder of a Madera mother last July has sparked a statewide change in domestic violence law.

Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 24, also known as Calley’s Law, in honor of Calley Garay.

Authorities say the mother of three was gunned down outside a clinic by her estranged husband as she shielded her children.

Calley’s family says she did everything right. She left her husband and got a restraining order, only to be killed a few months later.

Now, Calley’s story is the inspiration for change.

“I just want her to be remembered as courageous and as a good mother, she was an amazing mother,” explained Sarah Rodriguez, Calley’s cousin.

Selfless is how Sarah described Calley.

The two were reconnecting after she says Calley left her husband after years of abuse that prohibited her from seeing her family.

“Just in the short amount of time she was back to smiling and laughing and being herself again, I mean yeah she didn’t go anywhere and she stayed in protection, but she was her again. And I’m grateful her kids got to see that in her,” said Sarah.

A photo of Calley Garay.

In May of 2020, Calley left her husband and took her three young boys with her.

“She left, went to the police, went to a shelter, got the restraining order, had done everything, and still,” Sarah said.

Three months later, authorities say Calley was shot to death by her estranged husband in the parking lot of a Madera County clinic as she shielded her children from bullets.

“The only reason the alleged abuser found out where she was, is because she had a medical appointment and they called to confirm it and the number they called was the abusive husband,” said Senator Ana Caballero, D-Salinas.

Working with Sarah, Caballero spear-headed the newly passed Calley’s Law.

“They really are minor changes but they are significant,” said Caballero.

It adds a checkbox to the domestic violence restraining order form, allowing a judge to choose if the school, medical and dental information of a child should be protected from an abusive parent.

It also requires organizations such as schools and medical offices to develop protocols to comply with domestic violence restraining orders.

“It’s a tragedy no matter how you look at it. This doesn’t bring Calley back, but what it does is it creates an environment where people who are fleeing their abusers can be protected,” Caballero explained.

While nothing can bring Calley back, Sarah hopes her memory will help save others.

“I hope it’s the beginning of creating way more laws that help these victims, I mean we gotta be able to end the cycle of it,” said Sarah.

If you are a victim of domestic abuse or know someone who is, there’s help available 24/7 by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline also offers resources to help identify the warning signs of abuse.

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