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NCJ Number: 162414 Find in a Library
Title: Trials of Battered Women Who Kill: The Impact of Alternative Forms of Expert Evidence
Journal: Law and Human Behavior  Volume:20  Issue:2  Dated:(April 1996)  Pages:167-187
Author(s): R A Schuller; P A Hastings
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 21
Sponsoring Agency: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
Ottawa, ON K1P 6G4, Canada
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study manipulated both the female defendant's prior response to abuse by the victim (passive, active) and the presence of expert testimony (battered woman syndrome, social agency, no expert control) in a homicide trial that involved a battered woman who had killed her abuser.
Abstract: The introduction of battered woman syndrome testimony in trials of battered women who have killed has stirred considerable debate within the psycholegal community. Much of the controversy stems from the testimony's focus on the woman's passivity, as well as its portrayal of a single profile of battered women. Given these concerns, proposals to alter the content of the testimony (for example, dropping the "syndrome" terminology, focus on battered women's social reality as opposed to their psychological state and reactions) have surfaced. Overall, participants, who were drawn from both a university (n=195) and a nonuniversity setting (n=202), rendered more lenient verdicts and provided more favorable evaluations of the defendant's claim of self-defense in the presence of expert testimony (either form) compared to a no-expert control. Further, these effects were more pronounced for the student than the nonstudent sample. Implications of these findings for the use of expert evidence that pertains to battered women are discussed. 2 tables, 2 figures, and 45 references
Main Term(s): Court procedures
Index Term(s): Abused women; Battered wives; Battered woman syndrome; Defense preparation; Expert witnesses; Homicide
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