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1 Dark_Falcon  Sun, Feb 17, 2013 3:00:22pm
The Michigan Women’s Justice & Clemency Project conducted a study of homicide convictions in Oakland County from 1986 to 1988, concluding that “Overall, a white female defendant with no criminal history who was convicted by a jury of killing a white person could expect an average sentence of 10 to 30 years. However, if the woman was a victim of domestic violence, her predicted sentence increased to life.” That’s blaming the victim with a vengeance.

It really isn’t ‘blaming the victim’, it has to do with the fact that the individual states set the laws for what is or is not justifiable self-defense. Many states simply consider any killing of another unless under direct threat to be murder, unless you are a soldier, prison guard, or police officer (in which case there are some exceptions). Thus killing an abusive spouse in him/her sleep is automatically murder in those states.

The length of sentence also has to do with the charge. Killing an abusive spouse by stealth (as sometimes happens in battered woman cases) normally requires planning and is thus charged criminally as Murder in the 2nd Degree at least. Some instances, like the famous ‘burning bed’ case, would actually qualify as 1st Degree Murder under the law in Illinois (but not New York, which would call it Murder 2 under its current laws). By contrast, a female involved in drug dealing who shot someone in response to an argument or fight might well only be charged with manslaughter, or at least plead down to it. Prosecutors, however, are often unwilling to make plea deals with those accused of premeditated homicide, as in their eyes this is the worst of crimes that they are assigned to prosecute.

2 klys  Sun, Feb 17, 2013 4:27:53pm

re: #1 Dark_Falcon

Taking what the study says at face value:

- It was in one county (thus removing variability in what self-defense is defined as).
- It was for homicide convictions (I would read this as removing plea bargains, since the term ‘conviction’ is often used to refer to a jury’s verdict and not a defendant’s plea).

If you click through to the organization’s website (because the article does provide a link):

Results showed that domestic violence victims had higher conviction rates and longer sentences than all others charged with homicide, including those with previous violent criminal records.

I think there’s more going on here than just variation in charge and state laws.

3 Interesting Times  Sun, Feb 17, 2013 5:33:37pm

re: #1 Dark_Falcon

Why do you often leap to make excuses for blatant injustice? It’s disturbing.

4 Dark_Falcon  Sun, Feb 17, 2013 5:43:54pm

re: #3 Interesting Times

Why do you often leap to make excuses for blatant injustice? It’s disturbing.

It depends on if you think that the sentences handed down are unjust. There’s actually a pretty good case to be made against allowing a civilian to kill someone who does not pose an immediate threat. The issue can be argued, and that’s what I’m doing. I don’t see such debate as condoning rape or injustice.

5 Interesting Times  Sun, Feb 17, 2013 5:49:07pm

re: #4 Dark_Falcon

Are you seriously saying a battered woman deserves a harsher sentence than a violent criminal with a record?? Are you calling “battered women’s syndrome” an invalid defense?!

6 klys  Sun, Feb 17, 2013 5:52:54pm

re: #4 Dark_Falcon

Results showed that domestic violence victims had higher conviction rates and longer sentences than all others charged with homicide, including those with previous violent criminal records.

From The Michigan Women’s Justice and Clemency Project.

It was a case study of homicide convictions over three years in one county.

7 chadu  Sun, Feb 17, 2013 5:56:25pm

This is a whole bunch of WTF?

Almost none of it makes sense.


Everybody calm down for the moment, k?

Sheriff of the Internets, Chad

8 Dark_Falcon  Sun, Feb 17, 2013 6:03:34pm

re: #5 Interesting Times

‘No’ to the first question, the second question I cannot answer as formatted, as it is a very complex question.


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 Frank says:

It looks just like a Telefunken U-47!