Brief Fact Summary. Appellant was found guilty of first-degree murder for killing her abusive husband. Appellant argued she should have been able to present evidence that she suffered from battered woman syndrome.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. A battered woman may kill her mate during the period of threat that precedes the violent incident, immediately before the violence escalates or make take action during the lull in an assaultive incident as long as if given the circumstances, she perceived the danger of serious bodily harm as imminent.
Issue. Whether Appellant should have been able to present expert testimony on battered woman syndrome to show she killed in self defense.
Held. The trial court erred in not allowing testimony on the syndrome.
A battered woman is repeatedly subjected to forceful, physical or psychological behavior by a man in order to coerce her to do something he wants her to do without any concern for her rights. The woman must go through the battering cycle at least twice.
A person is justified in using self defense if that person reasonably believes that use of deadly force was necessary to protect herself from imminent danger of great bodily harm.
The word imminent must envelope the battered women’s perceptions based on all the facts and circumstances of her relationship with the victim.
Concurrence. The concurrence agreed that Appellant should have been allowed to present evidence of self defense. The concurrence disagreed on the perceived overhaul on the law of self defense. The concurrence believed that the evidence the Appellant would have presented would have been sufficient under the traditional definition of self defense.
The right to take another's life in self-defense is not to be tested by the honesty or good faith of the defendant's belief in the necessity of the killing, but by the fact whether he had reasonable grounds for such belief.View Full Point of Law