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Publications: Update: Post-conviction win for battered woman



Posted: 10/28/2015

On October 28, 2015, the Oregon Court of Appeals upheld the post-conviction judgment granting relief to Ms. T (not named to protect her from her dangerous ex-husband). The state had appealed the post-conviction court's ruling that ordered a new trial. It argued that the trial lawyer's failure to prepare and question his expert witness to explain the counterintuitive behavior of battered women -- why they don't leave, why they become submissive, why they don't report the battering, etc. -- did not prejudice Ms. T's duress defense. The court rejected the state's argument by affirming the judgment without issuing an opinion. Mr. Balske briefed and argued the appeal on Ms. T's behalf. The Oregon Justice Resource Center and the National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women submitted an amicus curiae brief in support of Ms. T. Ms. T's trial lawyer introduced testimony from numerous witnesses to show that Ms. T's husband had physically, psychologically, and sexually battered her into submission.  However, the battering husband denied doing so, and the jury convicted Ms. T.  The post-conviction court based its ruling on the lawyer's failure to properly prepare and question his expert witness to explain the counterintuitive behavior of battered women -- why they don't leave, why they become submissive, why they don't reveal the battering, etc.  It held that without an appropriate explanation, the jury would not have understood why Ms. T has assisted her husband in criminal conduct.

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Dennis Balske
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Law Office of Dennis N. Balske, Portland, Oregon (August 2003 – present).  Sole practitioner.  Constitutional law practice emphasizing state post-conviction and federal habeas corpus litigation. 


 

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