Domestic Violence Victims Speak About Clemency
COLUMBIA - The Missouri Battered Women's Clemency Coalition brought law students, social workers, prosecutors and attorneys together to hear three women share their stories about being convicted for murder with no chance to provide evidence of domestic violence.
One of the three women, Carleen Borden, was incarcerated for 22 years, after being falsely convicted for the murder of her husband, who she said physically abused her once they got married.
"I had black eyes, blood everywhere. I couldn't go to the hospital because he wouldn't let me, couldn't call the police because he was the police so you know, I couldn't do anything because there wasn't any help back in those days," said Borden.
Borden said in her second trial her former attorney worked for her prosecuting attorney and "coached" him to attack on the weak parts of her testimony.
Prior to the 1990's Missouri law prohibited men and women from using domestic violence as part of evidence in a courtroom.
A law professor at the University of Missouri- Columbia, Mary Beck has been working for the University of Missouri's Domestic Violence Clinic for more than 25 years.
"As a woman and just as person I care about this situation and we have a lot of male students who are as committed as any female students," said Beck.
Beck and the CEO of the Missouri Association Against Domestic and Sexual Violence along with three other universities put together a petition to change that law.
Beck said the project began in 1999 and was sent to the Missouri Legislature in 2000. According to Beck, the former Gov. Mel Carnahan was planning on passing the bill, but he died in a plane crash before it passed. Not until former Gov. Bob Holden took over, did the bill pass.
Eleven women's cases were taken on by Missouri law students from University of Missouri- Kansas City, Saint Louis University, Washington University and the University of Missouri- Columbia. Two other speakers were Linda Branch and Shelley Hendrickson, who were helped by law students on their own court cases.
CEO of the Missouri Association Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, Colleen Coble said 30% of women in abusive relationships in the United States are killed by their partners.