Domestic Homicide: The Continuing Search for Justice
29 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2016 Last revised: 24 Feb 2017
Date Written: January 30, 2017
Domestic homicides include killing an intimate or that person’s romantic partner out of jealous rage, and killing a batterer out of fear and despair. How the criminal law treats these different kinds of domestic homicides continues to challenge our sense of justice. In this Article, I first address the injustice that the partial defense of provocation for domestic homicides currently presents. I then discuss why eliminating or modifying the defense will continue to be problematic so long as mandatory sentencing persists. I next turn to the recent developments in Australian states, where experimentation in this area continues. I describe and analyze Australia’s continuing debate over how the criminal law should respond to different kinds of domestic homicides. Finally, I examine the most recent sweeping change to American criminal defense law: Stand Your Ground/Castle laws such as Florida’s. I suggest that American lawmakers should consider enacting a modified version of a recent Australian provision by amending the modern Castle laws to provide a presumption of self-defense for domestic violence survivors who kill their batterers in their homes or vehicles.
Keywords: domestic homicide, provocation, domestic violence, criminal defenses, stand your ground
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation