8 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2009
Date Written: August 6, 2009
A defendant on trial for murdering his intimate has forfeited his constitutional right to confront her as a witness, provided that, by taking her life, he intended to 'isolate the victim and to stop her from reporting abuse to the authorities or cooperating with a criminal prosecution.' This, the rule of forfeiture recently announced by the U.S. Supreme Court in California v. Giles, requires lower courts to consider the dynamics of battering when inferring the defendant’s intent. However, current legal conceptualizations of domestic violence homicide are underdeveloped. This comment on Professor Tom Lininger’s important contribution to a rich scholarly discourse treating the Confrontation Clause advances a conversation about what I call 'control killings.' My hope is that this conversation will penetrate the law and, in particular, inform judicial inquiries into the mens rea of the batterer who kills.
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