Justices: Prosecution Need Not Disprove Coercion Defense


The Supreme Court said today that states can make it tougher for accused criminals to claim they were coerced into breaking the law, the Associated Press reports. Justices ruled 7-2 against a Texas woman who claimed her abusive boyfriend forced her to buy him guns illegally.

The court looked the issue of whether the burden should have been on Keshia Dixon to show she was under duress or on the government to disprove it. Siding with the Bush administration and prosecutors, the court said that criminal defendants must face that hurdle. The case clears the way for states to change their laws. Justices were told that 29 states require their prosecutors to disprove a coercion defense.

Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/22/AR2006062200655.html

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