Putting Theory into Practice: A Battered Women's Clemency Clinic

8 Clinical Law Review 171 (2001)

U Denver Legal Studies Research Paper

76 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2017

See all articles by Nancy Ehrenreich

Nancy Ehrenreich

University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Jacqueline St. Joan

University of Denver

Date Written: March 3, 2001

Abstract

This article describes a clinical course in which law students petitioned Colorado's governor for clemency on behalf of three women who had been convicted of homicide in the deaths of their batterers. It also describes the broader clemency project that evolved out of that course, in which volunteer attorneys submitted five additional clemency cases. Intended primarily for use by individuals who are considering starting a battered women's clemency project or similar undertaking, the article canvasses the pedagogical, political, media relations, and strategic questions that arose during this particular project. Thus, it recounts how decisions were made as to what clients to represent, what arguments to use on their behalf, and how to structure the course. It also describes inadequacies in Colorado's (fairly typical) clemency rules as they affect battered women, and presents rule reform proposals aimed at addressing those shortcomings. Finally, the article explores the authors' experience in grappling with some of the thornier dilemmas faced by advocates of women who defend themselves against abuse - such as how to counteract media demonizing of their clients; how to articulate clemency arguments for women who had submitted evidence of battering at trial or who were convicted as co-defendants; how to deal with clients who may not be telling the truth; and how to respond to prosecutorial use of domestic violence as evidence of a motive for murder.

Suggested Citation

Ehrenreich, Nancy and St. Joan, Jacqueline, Putting Theory into Practice: A Battered Women's Clemency Clinic (March 3, 2001). 8 Clinical Law Review 171 (2001), U Denver Legal Studies Research Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2927016

Nancy Ehrenreich (Contact Author)

University of Denver Sturm College of Law ( email )

2255 E. Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208
United States

Jacqueline St. Joan

University of Denver

2201 S. Gaylord St
Denver, CO 80208-2685
United States

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