July 16, 2007

Crusade for abused women in prison

California has a "unique law" intended to assist domestic violence victims in prison. Under the law, a woman who killed her abusive partner and who was convicted before 1992 is entitled to petition for a new trial if she did not have an expert witness on battering.

The law was enacted in 2002. The problem is, many women in prison did not hear about it. Then, a young lawyer named Olivia Wang began a crusade. Her Habeas Project has grown into a statewide coalition that is celebrating victory in the freeing of Joyce Walker, who spent 16 years in prison for killing her horrifically abusive husband.

The story is featured on page 1 of Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle.

The Habeas Project has helped win freedom for 19 domestic violence survivors serving life sentences in California.