Battered Spouse Syndrome


Defendant is on trial for murder. The evidence is that defendant's husband was shot twelve times as he stood in the shower. Defendant does not contest the commission of the act, but pleads self defense.

Defendant's proof consists of a number of witnesses who will testify that for many years the decedent, a heavy drinker, continually abused the defendant, both physically and psychologically. Defendant also plans to call an expert psychologist who will testify that the defendant suffered from the abused spouse syndrome. The psychologist will also testify that one of the symptoms of abuse spouse syndrome is a constant and frequently triggered fear of further abuse at the hands of the abuser and that in the present case this fear could have caused defendant ultimately to kill the decedent in self defense. Should this evidence be admitted?

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