Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1019634
 
 

Citations (1)



 
 

Footnotes (311)



 


 



The Punishment of Dixie Shanahan: Is There Justice for Battered Women Who Kill?


Leigh Goodmark


University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law


Kansas Law Review, Vol. 55, No. 2, 2007

Abstract:     
The article explores the prevailing theories justifying criminal punishment in the United States through the lens of the case of Dixie Shanahan, an Iowa woman who was sentenced to fifty years imprisonment for killing her abusive spouse after nineteen years of battering. The article begins with a detailed examination of the life of Dixie Shanahan and places her within the context of the literature on battered women who kill. The piece then looks at both retributivist and utilitarian justifications for punishment and concludes that only a retributivist rationale justifies the punishment of Ms. Shanahan and other battered women who kill, and only to the extent that these women receive their just deserts, punishment tailored to the individual offender and crime. Because the fifty year sentence Ms. Shanahan received did not reflect her individual circumstances or the context of her crime, her punishment was not just. The article then asks why battered women who kill do not receive just deserts, and offers three theories: mandatory minimum sentences, judicial unwillingness to consider domestic violence in sentencing determinations, and community fears about widespread partner homicides if battered women who kill receive anything less than the maximum sentence.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 51

Keywords: criminal justice, theories of punishment, criminal punishment, women, domestic violence

Accepted Paper Series


Download This Paper

Date posted: November 11, 2007  

Suggested Citation

Goodmark, Leigh, The Punishment of Dixie Shanahan: Is There Justice for Battered Women Who Kill?. Kansas Law Review, Vol. 55, No. 2, 2007. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1019634

Contact Information

Leigh Goodmark (Contact Author)
University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law ( email )
500 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-1786
United States
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 1,713
Downloads: 116
Download Rank: 140,744
Citations:  1
Footnotes:  311

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo4 in 0.313 seconds