I have a murder case in which the defense will use a battered spouse syndrome expert witness.
Anybody know of any experts in this area who are used by the prosecution or are at least fair to the prosecution? Appreciate any recommendations or help. Thanks.
Battered woman's syndrome is a quasi-made up defense. There is no such thing in the DSM-IV-TR as BWS. There are probably lots of guns for hire who will testify that a defendant has BWS. Look out in particular for a woman named Toby Meyers (or Myers?). She testifies around the state as an "expert" in BWS. She is biased, and a battered woman herself. If she shows up on your defense expert witness list (you are asking for one, right?), call or e-mail me and I'll fill you in. Personally, I think a well planned C/X is better than calling your own expert. Do an internet search on their "expert." Post her name here. Are they raising insanity? Or just raising BWS in their self-defense theory? Look at the case law, though, particlurly the Fielder case. They'll probably be allowed to raise it, but have a thorough 705 hearing, and you may be able to limit the testimony. If they can't establish that the defendant was, truly, a battered woman, then that may be the plan of attack -- that her claims are b.s. and unfounded.
Thanks for your reply. That sounds like sound advice.
Ed, this reply may be too late, it's been several days since your post, but if you have not gone to trial yet you might check out the following: Sarah Buel. She is the director of the University of Texas Domestic Violence Clinic. You might remember her from her work at TDCAA a few years back. She is a former prosecutor and survivor of domestic violence, so she can speak from that unique perspective. No question she is an expert in the field and she is not so one-sided that she cannot see through a made-up battered spouse defense. I consulted her in a murder case once and had her prepared to testify but wound up not putting her on, although I think she would have been great.
Dr. Myers was very helpful to the State in a recent domestic violence case which I handled in Bell County. She went out of her way to help me find a domestic violence expert who would testify at no cost for the prosecution. I would highly recommend her as an expert for the State for domestic violence cases.
I think Jane was right, if a little strident: There is a vast difference between symptoms of a bona fide mental illness that have universal currency in mental health circles and behaviors (i.e. the BWS descriptions) which may in some jurisdictions constitute mitigating evidence - and perhaps in a few, constitute exculpatory evidence. The BWS description has more general acceptance in describing family dysfunction than as any "diagnosis", as there is none so labeled. Thus, there is also a vast difference between a legal conclusion and a mental health diagnosis.
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