Bias in the Judiciary: The Case of Domestic Violence
Each year about 16 percent of American couples experience some form of intimate partner aggression, and research shows that such violence is initiated equally by males and females. And each year about one million persons are arrested under criminal law for intimate partner violence, 77 percent of whom are male. In this report, the authors examine judicial bias in the domestic violence criminal justice system. The purpose is to document ways that the American legal system prosecutes domestic violence cases against the wishes of the victim, side-steps recognized due process protections, and acquiesces to a gender-based double-standard. The authors outline the ways that bias occurs in each step of the judicial process, and also identify sources of bias in alternative adjudication procedures that some jurisdictions have implemented. In addition, they explore further evidence of judicial bias in the prosecution of false allegations and the use of the battered woman syndrome as evidence.