Amicus Briefs by Topic
SELF-DEFENSE: VICTIMS OF BATTERING
Brief on behalf of battered woman defendant convicted of voluntary manslaughter for shooting abusive boyfriend. Brief argues that trial court erred by instructing jury it could not consider expert testimony on battering in its determination of the reasonableness of defendant’s fear when she shot decedent.
Reversed, 13 Cal. 4th 1073, 56 Cal. Rprt. 2d 142, 921 P.2d 1 (1996) (evidence of battering and its effects was relevant to reasonableness, as well as existence of defendant’s subjective belief in need to defend.)
State v. Jennifer Lewis, Supreme Court of Georgia, 1995
Brief on behalf of battered woman convicted of murder for shooting abusive husband. Brief argues that counsel was ineffective and defendant was severely prejudiced by counsel’s failure to present corroborative lay evidence and that battering expert was necessary to assess self-defense elements and rebut misconceptions about battered women.
Affirmed. 265 Ga. 451, 457 S.E.2d 173 (1995)
Brief on behalf of battered woman who was convicted of criminal weapon possession (but acquitted of murder) for shooting her abusive husband. Brief argues that court erred in precluding defendant-specific expert testimony by expert who evaluated defendant, and that general expert testimony about dynamics of battering did not remedy the error.
Affirmed, 106 A.D.3d 1112, 965 N.Y.S.2d 633 (2013)
State v. Vernita Smith, Supreme Court of Georgia, March 1997
Brief on behalf of battered woman defendant convicted of manslaughter for shooting abusive husband. Brief argues that defendant should have received specific jury instructions explaining how evidence of battering relates to self-defense.
Reversed. 268 Ga. 196, 486 S.E.2d 819 (1997)
NCDBW Note: Defendant entitled to specific jury instruction explaining how experiences as battered person affected state of mind.
Weiand v. Florida, Supreme Court of Florida, January 1997
Brief on behalf of battered woman who killed her husband as he choked and assaulted her. Brief argues that trial court erred by excluding two eyewitnesses to abuse on reasoning that battering expert testified, and that policy of protecting domestic violence victims requires that cohabitants not have duty to retreat from own home before using deadly force.
Certified question answered, 732 So. 2d 1044 (1999) \
NCDBW note: Ruling was that the battering expert was no substitute for eyewitnesses to abuse; cohabitants do not have duty to retreat from home before resorting to deadly force.