Amicus Briefs by Topic
DURESS / COERCION: BATTERED DEFENDANTS
DIXON, KESHIA CHERIE ASHFORD
Dixon v. US, 5th Circuit, Certiorari, US Supreme Court, February 2006
Petition for Writ of Certiorari. Brief on certiorari on behalf of battered woman convicted of purchasing firearms for abusive boyfriend argues in favor of established federal practice that places burden of persuasion on government when defendant satisfies burden of production on a duress defense.
Affirmed. 548 U.S. 1 (2006)
State v. Jennifer Helmedach, Supreme Court of Connecticut, 2009
Brief on behalf of battered woman defendant convicted of participating with abusive boyfriend in robbery and murder of third party. Brief argues that jury was permitted to erroneously conclude that remaining in abusive relationship was proof that she "recklessly placed [herself] in the situation" thereby barring her duress defense.
Affirmed. 25 Conn. App. 125 (2010); State v. Helmedach, 306 Conn. 61, 48 A.3d 664 (2012)
Commonwealth v. Beth Markman, Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, 2003
Brief on behalf of battered woman defendant sentenced to death for participating with abusive boyfriend in murder of third person. Brief argues that court erroneously barred duress instruction on flawed reasoning that defendant “recklessly placed” herself in the situation, and wrongfully precluded battering expert. Brief analyzes relevance of battering evidence to duress and refutes court’s misconceptions.
Reversed on other grounds. 591 Pa. 249, 916 A.2d 586 (2007)
NCDBW note: Court finds duress instruction should have been given and this holding is not dicta. (591 Pa. at 283-290, 916 A.2d at 605-612)
People v. Nettie Reay, Supreme Court of California, January 2002
Brief on behalf of battered woman defendant coerced by abusive boyfriend to participate in killing of third person. Brief argues that jury should have been instructed on defense of duress, and analyzes admissibility and relevance of battering evidence to battered women’s duress claims.
Affirmed. Unpublished decision, 2003 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7957, 2003 WL 21983858 (2003.)
NCDBW note: Affirmed based on retroactive application of new rule barring duress as defense to murder.