A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

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.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.