Self Defense or Murder

Governors of states as diverse as California, Florida, Illinois New Hampshire and Ohio have seen fit to grant clemency to women who killed their partners. Clearly, many people feel that there is some reason why these women don’t deserve to spend decades behind bars. Personally, I don’t think women who have endured several years of abuse should not do jail time.

The first thing people say is why you didn’t take it to the police well sometimes the woman is too afraid and sometimes in some cases the police don’t do anything. Like Tracey Thurman’s story, Thurman v. City of Torrington, DC, was a court decision concerning Tracey Thurman, a Connecticut homemaker who sued the city police department in Torrington, Connecticut, claiming a failure of equal protection under the law against her abusive husband Charles “Buck” Thurman.

After Tracey Thurman was attacked, stabbed, and nearly killed by her husband in 1983, a subsequent civil lawsuit judged that the local police had ignored growing signs of domestic violence and had casually dismissed restraining orders and other legal bars to keep Buck Thurman away from his wife. Battering is not a defense to murder. However, evidence of battering is relevant for traditional defenses that exist in our legal traditions. Battered women must be allowed to provide that evidence for juries to take into account.

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