Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Woman kills husband, goes free

The LA Times reports
After spending 16 years in prison, Hudie Joyce Walker walked out of a Pomona courtroom Tuesday a free woman — a sign of how much the law has changed for battered women who strike back.

Walker was the beneficiary of the first appellate court decision to interpret a 2002 state law that allows inmates to reopen their cases if they can show that expert testimony on abuse probably would have changed the outcome. ...

Walker was charged with first-degree murder for allegedly shooting her husband, Thomas Walker, at their Hacienda Heights home on Mother's Day 1990. It was a day she had hoped to go to a Dodgers game with her daughters and grandchildren.

Her husband, who had beaten her for years, had other ideas. He insisted that she accompany him to the Moose Lodge in El Monte, one of his regular watering holes.

After they returned home, he pointed a shotgun at her and said, "Today will be your last goddamned day on this Earth," according to court records.
Note how uncorroborated self-serving allegations against the husband are reported as fact, but the LA Times only says that she "allegedly" shot her husband. In fact, a jury convicted her of premeditatedly murdering him, and she even pled guilty to manslaughter eventually.

Here is a story about women who go free after killing their own kids.

The whole idea that expert testimony might manipulates jurors is offensive. Jurors know what murder is. There is no need for experts to tell jurors what is or is not murcer. When experts are allowed to testify on stuff like this, then prosecution and defense experts offer dueling theories about the defendant's state of mind. The experts just don't add much.

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