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Brooks v. State

Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
630 So. 2d 160 (1993)


Facts

Marguerite Brooks (defendant) was walking down the street with her friend when Marguerite’s husband, Lewis, grabbed Marguerite and cussed at her. Lewis pulled Marguerite toward him, but Marguerite pulled free and ran. Lewis was drunk and angry and told Marguerite that he was going to kill her. Lewis chased after Marguerite. Marguerite and her friend went into her friend’s home. Marguerite had been abused by Lewis and by a previous husband. Marguerite took a gun from the home and went back outside. Marguerite told Lewis that she was not going to let Lewis hurt her anymore and to stay back. Marguerite pointed the gun at Lewis, and Lewis raised his hands. However, Lewis continued to move toward Marguerite. Marguerite told Lewis again to stay back and that she would shoot him. Lewis kept moving toward Marguerite, and she shot him. Lewis died. The State of Alabama (plaintiff) charged Marguerite with murder. During the trial, an expert witness testified that Marguerite suffered from battered-spouse syndrome, a type of post-traumatic stress disorder. The trial court provided jury instructions on the definitions of murder and manslaughter. During the jury deliberations, the jury asked the trial court if battered-spouse syndrome was grounds for manslaughter and if battered-spouse syndrome was considered provocation. The trial court answered “no” to both questions. Marguerite did not object to these answers. The jury convicted Marguerite of murder, and she appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Bowen, J.)

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