Cheryl Hanna

87 Texas L. Rev. See Also 79

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In this comment, Professor Hanna explains why she believes Professor Lininger’s article is so important: it develops a test for getting around the problem created by the Supreme Court for the prosecution of domestic violence murders.

The problem created in Giles is that prosecutors are required to prove that the defendant had the specific intent to silence his victim when he killed her, before allowing forfeiture of confrontation rights.  However, Professor Lininger’s article grabs onto language in the majority and concurring opinions suggesting that lower courts are permitted to infer that intent, and develops three per se rules for when it is appropriate.  She believes that since this test focuses on the broader context of domestic violence abuse, as opposed to focusing on just the moment the murder occurred, it should help prosecutions of domestic abusers.

She also focuses on the question of whether advocates for the victims of domestic abuse should emphasize the gender bias in these crimes, showing how the law treats women unfairly in this context, or whether they should de-emphasize it in order to win over the likes of Justice Scalia.  After discussing the issue, she concludes that trying to win over Justice Scalia is pointless because he is too committed to originalism in the Confrontation Clause context to be affected either way by the disparate impact this has on women.