Supreme Court to weigh evidentiary standard in domestic abuse case

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Friday granted certiorari [order, PDF] in the case of Dixon v. United States, where the Court will clarify how criminal defendants can use evidence of domestic battery at their trials. Cherie Ashford Dixon contends that her constitutional right to a fair trial on weapons charges was violated because the judge would not allow the jury to consider expert testimony on domestic battery and its effects. After oral arguments expected to be held in April, the Supreme Court will likely determine a standard of proof for defendants in claiming abuse-related duress. Dixon was convicted of lying to get a gun and receiving a firearm while under indictment, but has said that her boyfriend coerced her into buying weapons under a death threat to her two teenage daughters. The Court's decision to hear the case comes as a surprise because the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] said last year in refusing to overturn the conviction [PDF opinion] that Dixon's claim was "unremarkable," despite claims of battered women's syndrome. AP has more.



 

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