Hastings Journal on Gender and the Law


For battered women who are forced to kill their attackers, unequal treatment by the law and gendered modes of punishment often lead to unfair convictions and sentences. In a study conducted by the Michigan Battered Women's Clemency Project, startling levels of discrimination in the courts against women who were victims of domestic violence were revealed. In this study, victims of domestic violence had higher conviction rates and longer sentences than all other defendants charged with homicide. The criminal and legal systems have failed to protect battered women from being killed or being forced to kill. Clemency remains the only hope to remedy the inequities that have resulted from gender, race, and sexual biases.