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State v. Norman (1989)
Transcript of State v. Norman (1989)
Battered Person Syndrome
Battered Women's Syndrome
The abused thinks that the violence was his or her fault.
The abused has an inability to place the responsibility for the violence elsewhere.
The abused fears for their life and/or the lives of their children (if present).
The abused has an irrational belief that the abuser is omnipresent and omniscient
The syndrome develops in response to a three-stage cycle found in domestic violence situations. First, tension builds in the relationship. Second, the abusive partner releases tension via violence while blaming the victim for having caused the violence. Third, the violent partner makes gestures of contrition. However, the partner does not find solutions to avoid another phase of tension building and release so the cycle repeats. The repetition of the violence despite the abuser's attempts to "make nice" results in the abused partner feeling at fault for not preventing a repeat cycle of violence. However, since the victim is not at fault and the violence is internally driven by the abuser's need to control, this self-blame results in feelings of helplessness rather than empowerment. The feeling of being both responsible for and helpless to stop the violence leads in turn to depression and passivity. This learned depression and passivity makes it difficult for the abused partner to marshal the resources and support system needed to leave
Was she justified?
Do you think the courts were right in convicting her?
Battered Person Syndrome
A physical and psychological condition of a person who has suffered, persistently, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse from another person (ICD-9).
It is a sub-category of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
A short while later PD was called back to their residence after the defendant overdosed on "nerve pills".
John Norman was belligerent with EMS and PD, stating that they should just let her die and that she didn't deserve to live. He also stated that he wanted to kill her, her mother, and her grandmother.
Judy was taken to the hospital where she was evaluated by a therapist and released to her grandmother's home.
Day of the Killing
Judy Norman returned home the next morning, where she received more severe abuse than normal.
Judy's mother called for PD assistance to the house but none arrived.
John Norman passed out from intoxication on their bed.
Judy Norman left the residence, went to her mother's house and grabbed her gun, came back to her residence and proceeded to shoot Norman three times in the head while he was sleeping.
Judy Ann Laws Norman
Married to John Norman for 25 years, suffered abuse for 20 of those years
Had five children, four of whom were still living. The fifth was born prematurely and died after John Norman beat her and kicked her down a flight of stairs.
Forced Judy into prostitution in order to support their family.
He would beat the defendant with whatever was available- fist, baseball bat, glasses, beer bottles, etc. Norman would put out cigarettes on Judy.
Would force her to bark like a dog and sleep on the floor.
Defendant was never seen and treated for the abuse prior to the 36 hour time table leading up to the killing of Norman.
Battered Women's Syndrome
When Battered Person Syndrome (BPS) manifests as PTSD, it consists of the following symptoms: (a) re-experiencing the battering as if it were recurring even when it is not, (b) attempts to avoid the psychological impact of battering by avoiding activities, people, and emotions, (c) hyperarousal or hypervigilance, (d) disrupted interpersonal relationships, (e) body image distortion or other somatic concerns, and (f) sexuality and intimacy issues (WALKER, L. E. (2006), Battered Woman Syndrome. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1087: 142–157)
The Days Leading up to the Killing
June 10th: John forced Judy to prostitute at a truck stop. Came back later that day and beat her. He was pulled over and arrested for a DUI.
After being released on June 11, he went home and severely beat Judy. At around 8:00pm, police were called to the residence, where they noted that the defendant was bruised and crying, stating that John had been beating her all day. PD asked her to take a warrant out for his arrest, she refused stating that she was afraid he would kill her. Unable to do anything, PD left.