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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 74088 Find in a Library
Title: Defending Battered Women - A Model Voire Dire
Journal: Trial  Volume:16  Issue:12  Dated:(December 1980)  Pages:30-33,61
Author(s): A D Eisenberg; E J Seymour
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 5
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The viewpoint that defense attorneys representing battered women in homicide cases must adopt a different approach with regard to jury selection strategies is argued.
Abstract: Juries and judges are burdened with biases that make it difficult for them to understand and believe the real threat that a woman feels at the moment the self-defense impulse is triggered. Thus, jury selection strategies must be altered from the pattern set in homicide cases involving male defendants. For example, normally the discovery of an authoritarian personality would be reason for the defense to strike a potential juror in a homicide case. Such a personality could usually be predicted to identify with the prosecution and thus be biased. However, in a battered-woman homicide case, an authoritarian might be patronizing or chivalrous toward her, thus discounting otherwise objectionable biases. In addition, an androgynous individual is a desirable juror because such a person discounts behaviors dictated by traditional sex role stereotypes. In a case involving a battered woman defendant, any assumptions about the affinity women panel members may have for the defendant should be disregarded. While some women may be sympathetic, others may feel threatened by comparison with a defendant who has stepped out of the stereotype role. Questioning of the potential juror should include determination of the individual's ability to recognize 'equalizer' principles in an altercation between man and woman and the ability to understand that repeated abusive behavior by the deceased could have added to the total picture which prompted the defendant to use deadly force when she did. Panel members should be questioned extensively with regard to their own personal experiences with violence and attitudes toward it which could affect their fair decisionmaking ability. The article includes 18 references.
Index Term(s): Battered wives; Crimes of passion; Defense counsel effectiveness; Females; Homicide; Juror characteristics; Voir dire
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