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September 25, 2014 Vol. 1 Issue 11 When Justice is Battered Buckner Clarion PRSRT STD ECRWSS U.S. POSTAGE PAID EDDM RETAIL Local Postal Customer The Brenda Clubine spent 26 years in prison for killing her husband. After years of enduring beatings and ER visits, she said the abuse finally ended in a locked motel room. Her husband asked for her wedding rings. She said when she asked why, he said, "Because tomorrow they won't be able to identify your body without them." Clubine hit him in the head with a wine bottle. He died from blunt force trauma. Clubine, who was released not long ago from a California prison, still visits the facility at least once a month. She attends a support group she started over 20 years ago called Convicted Women Against Abuse. Some of the inmates stand out, like the ones with gray hair and walkers. Glenda Virgil is 65, sits in a wheelchair and has spent almost 30 years in prison. She said her arrest photos show her husband's kick prints all over her back. Another inmate , Rosemary Dyer, is 60 years old and has been in prison since 1988 for killing her husband. Dyer, who has a life sentence without the chance for parole, said she receives letters from other domestic violence victims asking for advice. For six months, she communicated with a woman who was being abused by her baby's father. The letters stopped coming. Dyer later found out that the man killed the woman and the child. "He killed them both," she said. "The only thing I could think of is what more could I have said to express to her the importance to get away." As many as 4 million women die each year at the hands of their partner or spouse. And victims who fight back, like Clubine, Dyer, Virgil and thousands more, are facing long prison sentences. According to the latest estimates, at least 4,500 women are currently incarcerated for killing an abusive partner. Systemically, crimes involving domestic abuse victims fighting back or even killing their abuser By Tonia Wright Fighting or killing an abusive partner to escape the beatings have landed thousands of women behind bars – courting long prison sentences, all in the name of justice. According to recent estimates, 4,500 women are incarcerated for killing an abusive partner. Here's a different spin on recent domestic violence headline news. are not given special consideration in the court system. A prime example is three women in Missouri who have served decades in prison for defending themselves against spousal abuse. All three served sentences dating back to the 1970's and 1980's. For 10 years, a group of attorneys called the Missouri Clemency Coalition Project (MCCP) argued for the women's release. Their defense was that these women were driven to kill after suffering repeated abuse from their husbands. MCCP argued that at the time of the women's arrests, few resources were available for battered women, domestic violence was poorly understood and evidence of abuse was not routinely presented in trials. In 2007, a law passed in Missouri that said offenders who had murdered their spouses could be eligible for parole if they served 15 years in prison, had no prior felony convictions and had a history of "substantial physical abuse or sexual domestic violence" not presented at trial. Still, the Missouri Board of Probation and Parole twice denied these women their freedom. After the second rejection in 2009, MCCP sued the parole board and got another court order forcing the board to reconsider the cases. Hearings were held in Jefferson City last year. Two of the women, one 56 and the other 66, were granted parole last year. The third woman, 58, was freed from a Missouri prison this year. "The journey to free the final three was long and hard," said Patricia Harrison, J.D., assistant clinical professor of law at St. Louis University and a member of MCCP. "All of the women had exemplary institutional behavior, no prior record, (Continued on page 5.)

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