Amicus Briefs by Topic
HIRE TO KILL / 3RD PARTY KILLING
Faye Copeland (Copeland v. Washington) – US District Ct., W.D. Missouri, January 1999
Brief on behalf of battered woman defendant sentenced to death for conspiring with abusive husband to commit murder. Brief argues that battering expert was improperly precluded and counsel was ineffective for failing to present evidence of battering which was relevant to defendant’s intent to kill.
Order granting petition in part, and vacating death sentence affirmed. 232 F.2d 969 (8th Cir. 2000 )
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)
Brandy Holmes v. Louisiana, 5th Circuit, Certiorari US Supreme Court, May 2009
Brief on certiorari on behalf of battered woman defendant sentenced to death for conspiring with abusive boyfriend to commit murder. Brief argues that sentence fails to give proper consideration to mitigating significance of intimate partner violence.
Cert. Denied. (558 U.S. 932, 130 S. Ct. 70, 175 L. Ed. 2d 233 (2009)
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)
State v. Rhonda Stewart, Supreme Court WV, 2011
Brief on behalf of battered woman defendant convicted of murder for shooting abusive husband when she intended to shoot herself. Brief reviews admissibility of battering evidence for purposes other than self-defense, explains relevance for assessing state of mind elements, and demonstrates how defendant was prejudiced.
Reversal of conviction affirmed. State v. Stewart, 228 W. Va. 406, 719 S.E.2d 876 (2011)
NCDBW note: Excluded eyewitnesses to abuse and battering expert could have cast doubt on premeditation and malice elements of murder.