In determining sentencing for a woman convicted of murdering her spouse, expert testimony regarding battered woman syndrome is more relevant to the sentencing decision than to the assessment of the legality of the defendant's actions. The court reviewed a line of cases involving women convicted of murdering their abusive partners. Although the court cited a variety of mitigating factors that should be considered (e.g., the sustained nature of the abusive conduct, the presence of children in the home,etc.), it held that foremost is the actual effect sustained domestic violence has on women. As a result, the court found expert testimony confirming that the defendant suffered form the syndrome to be a "substantial and compelling" reason to suspend the defendant's sentence.
State v. Engelbrecht