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Prosecutors recently dropped murder charges against McCarter, a domestic violence survivor who killed her estranged husband in an act of self-defense. Her legal ordeal shows how much more we must do to show up for women.
Many of the 230,000 women and girls in U.S. jails and prisons were abuse survivors before they entered the system. Research for The Appeal shows that at least 30 percent of those serving time on murder or manslaughter charges were protecting themselves or a loved one from physical or sexual violence.
Justine van der Leun
Nikki Addimando, convicted of second-degree murder for the death of her boyfriend, whom she said abused her, petitioned to have her sentence reduced under the 2019 law. But a judge ruled against her. If that ruling is affirmed, state legislators say, it will be ‘insurmountably difficult’ for survivors to ever benefit from the law.
The state has recommended the release of 10 women at a coronavirus-ravaged prison—but Governor John Bel Edwards still hasn’t signed the paperwork.
The Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act allows judges to consider shorter sentences, as well as non-prison sentences, if abuse factored significantly in the crime.
Tondalao Hall has served 15 years for allegedly ‘failing to protect’ her kids from their father’s violence. A parole board will now decide if that’s enough.
Aylaliya Birru has served over four years in a California prison for assaulting her husband, who she said was physically abusive. A pardon from Governor Gavin Newsom is her last hope to stay in the U.S.
Jacqueline Smalls was sentenced to 15 years in prison for killing a boyfriend whose ‘hands were his weapons.’ She now joins the ranks of criminalized survivors seeking clemency from Governor Cuomo.
Jacqueline Dixon shot her husband to death in Alabama, "Stand Your Ground" state, after she said he charged at her. He had a history of domestic violence.
William C. Anderson
Catina Curley suffered physical abuse at the hands of her husband for more than a decade. When she turned a revolver on him, she was charged with murder and sentenced to life. Now, thanks to a court ruling, she has a chance at freedom.
Josie Duffy Rice