Criminal Law and Women: Giving the Abused Woman Who Kills a Jury of Her Peers Who Appreciate Trifles

By Angel, Marina | American Criminal Law Review, Winter 1996 | Go to article overview

Criminal Law and Women: Giving the Abused Woman Who Kills a Jury of Her Peers Who Appreciate Trifles


Angel, Marina, American Criminal Law Review


I. Introduction II. Stories

A. The Story--"Fiction"

B. The Story--"Fact"

C. A Jury of Her Peers as a Pedagogic Device III. The Law; History and Politics

A. Jurisprudential Debates Affecting Women

B. The History of Legalized Woman Abuse: Roman, English, and

Early American Law

C. The Right to Vote: A Black/White Split

D. The Supreme Court's Early Decisions

E. The Vote Connected to Jury Service

1. The Law Reviews

2. The State Courts

IV. Facts: The Reality of Woman Abuse

A. Statistics & Patterns

B. Newspaper Reports on Known and Unknown Women

C. Efforts to Evaluate, Control and Respond

1. The International Arena

2. Professional and Religious Organizations

3. The Official Players: Reports, Lawsuits, and Arrests

4. The Jury Studies

V. Substantive Criminal Law

A. Making Value Judgments

B. The Reasonable Man and the Insane Woman

1. The Common Law

2. The Model Penal Code

a. Extreme Mental or Emotional Disturbance

b. Self-Defense

3. Equal Application and Favorable Interpretations

C. Facts: Male and Female

1. Different Concepts of Time

2. Different Definitions of Emotional Self Defense

3. A Woman's World

VI. The Modern Era and Still No Jury of Her Peers

A. The Beginning of the Modern Era: Ballard and Fay

B. The Voluntary Exclusion Cases: Hoyt and Taylor

C. The Peremptory Challenge Cases for African American Males

and All Females: Batson and J.E.B.

VII. Conclusion

I.INTRODUCTION

In the spring of 1985, I drove from Philadelphia to Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, to attend a women's conference.(1) After registration and dinner, the conference started with a film version of Susan Glaspell's Trifles,(2) a 1916 one-act play about an abused wife who kills her abusive husband. The next morning &mall groups discussed the film. The three men in my group dominated the discussion. One informed us that he had represented the Black Panthers and instructed that the only true route to equality was through violence. Women, therefore, had to learn to use violence to achieve political equality in America. I finally responded that I knew of no instance in history of women as a group using violence to achieve feminist political goals. The woman facilitator at that point blurted out "Lysistrata!"(3) I pointed out to her that a woman's saying no to sexual intercourse was not violent but could lead to a violent male reaction.

The only memento I took back to Philadelphia--one that has been a tremendous influence on me, my friends, colleagues, and students--was the short-story version of Trifles, called A Jury of Her Peers.(4) The story is written from the perspective of those closed out of a legal system--in this instance, women--and how they react when that legal system is about to destroy one of their own. Women did not make homicide law as it existed in 1916: they were not judges; they were not members of state legislatures; they could not vote until 1920;(5) and they could not serve on juries in most states until the 1940s.(6)

I begin discussions of A Jury of Her Peers by asking what evidence the women in the story saw that the men did not. The women in the story start from different facts and reach different legal conclusions than the men in the story. The men's views of fact and law reflect our traditional legal system, which men created and continue to dominate. My question about evidence is about perceptions and leads to a discussion of how different experiences and values affect analysis--issues that we must all learn to deal with in our increasingly diverse societies.

The term "second-generation diversity issues"(7) is currently in vogue but means different things to different people. To some extent, the traditional outsiders- women and minority men--have been permitted to enter existing systems, including the legal system. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Criminal Law and Women: Giving the Abused Woman Who Kills a Jury of Her Peers Who Appreciate Trifles
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.