Supreme Court Will Rule On Domestic Violence Case
Thursday, February 16, 2006 4:55 PM

In April of this year, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Dixon v. United States, a case involving a woman who invokes battered women’s syndrome as a defense to a conviction for the illegal purchase of firearms. Dixon claims that fear for her life and that of her two daughters led her to purchase seven guns for her boyfriend, an ex-felon. In order to purchase the guns at two gun shows, Dixon provided a false address and lied about not facing criminal charges (she was under indictment for a “check-cashing scheme” at the time.) Dixon appealed her conviction stating that the Judge wrongly refused to allow the Jury hear expert testimony on battered women’s syndrome and the effects of domestic violence. However, the Supreme Court will not rule on this issue. Instead, the Supreme Court will decide whether a defendant must prove that she or he was under duress, or whether it is the responsibility of the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant was not under duress. Today, Dixon has completed her prison sentence, and no longer lives with her abusive boyfriend.

Compiled from: “Supreme Court to Hear Domestic Violence Case,” Family Violence Prevention Fund (15 February 2006).