8 Clinical L. Rev. 171 (2001-2002)
Putting Theory into Practice: A Battered Women's Clemency Clinic

handle is hein.journals/clinic8 and id is 177 raw text is: PUTTING THEORY INTO PRACTICE:
A BATTERED WOMEN'S
CLEMENCY CLINIC*
JACQUELINE ST. JOAN** AND NANCY EHRENREICH***
This article describes a clinical course in which law students peti-
tioned Colorado's governor for clemency on behalf of three women
who had been convicted of homicide in the deaths of their batterers.
It also describes the broader clemency project that evolved out of that
course, in which volunteer attorneys submitted five additional clem-
ency cases. Intended primarily for use by individuals who are consid-
ering starting a battered women's clemency project or similar
undertaking, the article canvasses the pedagogical, political, media re-
lations, and strategic questions that arose during this particular pro-
ject. Thus, it recounts how decisions were made as to what clients to
represent, what arguments to use on their behalf, and how to structure
the course. It also describes inadequacies in Colorado's (fairly typi-
cal) clemency rules as they affect battered women, and presents rule
reform proposals aimed at addressing those shortcomings. Finally,
the article explores the authors' experience in grappling with some of
the thornier dilemmas faced by advocates of women who defend
themselves against abuse - such as how to counteract media demon-
izing of their clients; how to articulate clemency arguments for
women who had submitted evidence of battering at trial or who were
convicted as co-defendants; how to deal with clients who may not be
telling the truth; and how to respond to prosecutorial use of domestic
violence as evidence of a motive for murder.
I. INTRODUCTION
On January 11, 1999, his last day in office, Governor Roy Romer
of Colorado granted clemency to four people who were serving prison
sentences for homicides in the deaths of abusive husbands and a fa-
ther. The governor also denied four other petitions for clemency filed
* The authors would like to thank the following individuals who read earlier drafts of
this work: Linda Ammons, Mary Beck, J. Robert Brown, Christine Cimini, Anna Farber,
Julie Kunce Field, Beth Gammie, Wadine Gehrke, Juliet Gilbert, Richard Neumann,
Elizabeth Schneider, and Margaret Walker. We are also grateful for research assistance
provided by: Diane Burkhardt, Stacy Buxton, Elizabeth Getches, Melissa Haapala,
Michelle Kestler, Kasey Maclntyre, and James Orcutt, and for clericalladministrative
assistance from Camilla Adams, Reanel Makelky, and Kim Wyatt.
** Asst. Prof. and Director of Clinical Programs, Univ. of Denver College of Law.
*** Assoc. Prof., Univ. of Denver College of Law.

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