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NCJ Number: 136690 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Battered Woman Syndrome and the Admissibility of Expert Testimony
Journal: Criminal Law Bulletin  Volume:28  Issue:2  Dated:(March-April 1992)  Pages:99-115
Author(s): H Breyer
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 17
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
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United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: After reviewing the nature of the battered woman syndrome and its use in a battered woman's claim of self-defense in a spousal homicide, this article analyzes the case law for such a defense.
Abstract: Although not all jurisdictions agree, many courts have recognized that expert testimony on the battered woman syndrome is necessary when battered women have asserted self-defense in order for a jury to consider the reasonableness of the woman's perceptions of imminent danger. Most courts have now accepted the premises that the battered woman syndrome is sufficiently developed as a matter of common accepted scientific knowledge and that the subject of the expert testimony is not within the understanding of the jury. Courts that still hold testimony on the battered woman syndrome inadmissible usually base their decision on a finding that such evidence is irrelevant and immaterial to the facts of the case or that its prejudicial impact outweighs its probative value. Additionally, some jurisdictions are still restricted by the ultimate-issue rule. Even though courts remain split on the issue of whether expert testimony on the battered woman syndrome should be admissible to support a battered woman's self-defense claim, recent criminal cases and legislation shows an increasing acceptance of expert testimony on the battered woman syndrome. 98 footnotes
Main Term(s): Battered woman syndrome
Index Term(s): Defense; Expert witnesses; Family homicide; Rules of evidence; Self defense
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