Battered Woman's Defense Brings Mixed Results

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

NEW YORK 9-24-11

Experts say a woman who says she shot her abusive husband in self-defense will have a hard time convincing a jury because of a lack of understanding about battered women.

Barbara Sheehan says she shot her husband Raymond on Feb. 18, 2008, because she feared he would kill her.

She says she was abused frequently.

Susan Osthoff of the National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women says battered women accused of killing their partners in self-defense are convicted at about the same rate as others accused of murder.

She says many plead guilty because they are unable or unwilling to go through a difficult, public trial.

Those who do, like Sheehan, are portrayed as flawed for not leaving or seeking help, especially as methods of coping with domestic violence evolve.

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