Defending Battered Women on Trial

Defending Battered Women on Trial

Lessons From the Transcripts

Book - 2014
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Univ of Washington Pr

In the landmark Lavallee decision of 1990, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that evidence of “battered woman syndrome” was admissible in establishing self-defence for women accused of killing their abusive partners. This book looks at the trials of eleven battered women, ten of whom killed their partners, in the fifteen years since Lavallee. Drawing extensively on trial transcripts and a rich expanse of interdisciplinary sources, the author looks at the evidence produced at trial and at how self-defence was argued. By illuminating these cases, this book uncovers the practical and legal dilemmas faced by battered women on trial for murder.

Book News
Sheehy presents a collection based on the question of whether battered women have a right to defend themselves. This book looks at the legal response to battered women who killed their partners in the past fifteen years. Sheehy uses trial transcripts and a detailed case study approach to tell the stories of eleven women, ten of whom killed their partners and one who did not. She looks at the barriers women face to "just leaving," how self-defense was argued in these cases, and which form of expert testimony was used to frame women's experience of battering. Drawing upon research from law, psychology, history, sociology, women's studies, and social work, the author highlights the limitations of the law relating to self-defense, the successful strategies of defense lawyers, the costs to women undergoing a murder trial, and the serious difficulties of credibility that they face when testifying. US distribution is by the U. of Washington Press; Canadian distribution is by the U. of Toronto Press. Annotation ©2014 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: Vancouver, B.C. : UBC Press, 2014
ISBN: 9780774826518
Characteristics: 469 pages ; 23 cm


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