Up until 1991, women convicted of a violent felony were not allowed to present evidence of prior physical abuse in court. Even after the criminal code was amended to allow this type of evidence to be admitted, it took over ten years – until 2002 – for the change to become retroactive, meaning that women who had previously been convicted without having a chance to present evidence of abuse to challenge their convictions were unable to do so in the interim. The Habeas Project is a consortium of lawyers and legal advocates who have gone back through these women’s cases and filed writs of habeas corpus, along with evidence of how the abuse may have impacted, in this case, the murders they committed.
For the project, two colleagues and I attempted to track down and speak with beneficiaries of the project and their lawyers, to get a sense, in their words, of their individual cases and the process of filing the writ, and being released.
Site Design: Brian Aguilar