Andrew King-Ries

87 Texas L. Rev. See Also 85

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In this comment, Professor King-Ries explores Professor Lininger’s proposed solution to the conundrum created by the Supreme Court’s decision in Giles v. California, regarding forfeiture by wrongdoing in the domestic violence context.

Professor Lininger advocates the creation of bright-line rules for determining when it is appropriate to infer a defendant’s intent to prevent his victim from testifying.  Profesor King-Ries agrees this is the right approach but finds the rules incomplete.  Instead, Professor King-Ries believes that whenever the prosecution can establish that a battering relationship exists between the defendant and the victim, it is appropriate to infer the defendant’s intent to prevent the victim from testifying for the purposes of the forfeiture by wrongdoing doctrine.   However, Professor King-Ries explains that a battering relationship can involve more than just violent conduct—such as control over financial resources, or emotional isolation—and that because Professor Lininger’s bright-line rules focus only on the violence aspect, they may be inadequate.  For example, a defendant’s confiscation of the victim’s credit cards after the victim’s reporting of a violent incident might be far more effective at preventing testimony than a punch, but it would fall outside Professor Lininger’s per se rule regarding acts of violence during the pendency of the prosecution.