State v. Hickson

After stabbing her husband in self-defense, Hickson was charged with second-degree murder. As a defense, Hickson sought to admit evidence that she suffered from battered-spouse syndrome. The Court held that expert testimony concerning the battered-spouse syndrome was admissible. The expert was permitted to testify about the syndrome in general or to answer hypothetical questions based on facts in evidence. If the defendant desired to present testimony from an expert who had examined her in order to opine directly about her case, the defendant would be required to submit to an examination by the state’s expert.  If the defendant chooses to have the expert testify generally about the syndrome or answer hypothetical questions, the state will not be allowed to have the defendant examined by the state’s expert but may produce its own expert to testify about generalities and hypotheticals.



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