- Retired NYPD Sgt. Sheehan killed by bruised & broken wife Barbara - ...The couple frequently argued, neighbors said, and she was seen with what appeared to be a broken nose and bruises while praying in church on Sunday... "There were all these times when she would come back here with a black eye or a cut on the head. She would cover for him and say she fell"...
- Barbara Sheehan, who killed ex-NYPD officer husband, has specialty lawyer
- Barbara Sheehan on why she killed her NYPD Sgt. husband
- [NY] Interview with murder-charged Barbara Sheehan & her daughter Jennifer - ...Barbara Sheehan said her family lived in fear of her husband, Raymond...
- [NY] Barbara Sheehan extends her defense publicly for why she killed husband, Ret. NYPD Sgt. Sheehan
- [NY] Thursday May 14th Oprah Show will include battered Barbara Sheehan who shot her ex-NYPD husband 11 times
- [NYPD] Barbara Sheehan murder trial: Accusations of clandestine collaborations between judge & DA seem too easily waved away - ...The judge in the case of a Queens woman accused of fatally shooting her ex-cop husband is aiding prosecutors - meeting them on the sly and preparing a ruling in their favor before they even asked for one, explosive court papers charge....
“This is the most awful, unprecedented decision I’ve ever read,” [Barbara Sheehan's Attorney Michael] Dowd said outside court. “We have to present a defense without any context of a battered woman’s life.”
BARBARA SHEEHAN SPEAKS
By Patricia Adams
November 25, 2009
Supreme Court Justice Arthur Cooperman
I don't know what happened in the Sheehan house, but even the people at her church observed her battered face before the killing. I cannot imagine living that way... being beat up at home and then trying to socialize at church. I commend the New York reporters for following this case and reporting their observations of an egotistical angry judge who has lost his compass. I pray for Barbara that something or someone can intervene and give her at least a fair trial. That's all she's asking for and it's what everyone of us have a right to. I don't know what I'd do if a man treated me and my family that way over years - or if it would take me years to hit my breaking point. I don't know if I would see another way out or not. Hopefully I would, but each situation is different. When I ended up in a women's shelter I could barely say my name and I couldn't remember my own address. People don't know who haven't been there what it's like. There NEEDS to be an expert in court who does, and who can share with the jury a glimpse into the world of a person who is living not day by day, but minute to minute. A person who can't say their own name without sobbing. How could the average juror know?
I AM NOT THE PERSON I WAS, CRUSHED TO THE CORE OF MY SOUL. THERE ARE NO WINDOWS OR FLOORS THERE. IT'S A FALLING. JUMPING AT EVERY SOUND AND BLOWING LEAF. IT IS A LIMPNESS AND A FOG, A SMALLNESS OF BEING WHERE NOTHING YOU SAY IS RIGHT, NOTHING YOU DO IS GOOD, AND YOU ARE NEVER EVER UNAFRAID OF THE NEXT MOOD OR WAVE. MAYBE JUDGE COOPERMAN DOESN'T LIKE THE SMELL OF THIS CASE BUT IT IS NOT UP TO HIS HIS NOSE TO DECIDE JUSTICE. MAYBE IT IS SOMETHING MORE PERSONALLY THREATENING TO HIS WAY OF LIFE. WHO CAN KNOW? BUT WE DO KNOW THAT THERE IS ENOUGH TO SHOW THAT BARBARA SHEEHAN LIVED IN A HELL WE WOULDN'T WISH ON OUR ENEMIES AND FEW CAN IMAGINE. LET HER HAVE A FAIR TRIAL, EVEN IF SHE IS FOUND GUILTY - LET IT BE A FAIR DECISION.
FROM THE AMERICAN JUDGES ASSOCIATION:
... Symptoms: BWS [Battered Woman's Syndrome] is a psychological reaction that can be expected to occur in normal people who are exposed to repeated trauma, such as family violence. It includes at least three groups of symptoms that assist the mind and body in preparing to defend against threats. Psychologists call it the "fight or flight" response.
The "Fight" Response Mode: In the "fight" mode, the body and mind prepare to deal with danger by becoming hypervigilant to cues of potential violence, resulting in an exaggerated startle response. The automatic nervous system becomes operational and the individual becomes more focused on the single task of self defense. This impairs concentration and causes physiological responses usually associated with high anxiety. In serious cases, fearfulness and panic disorders are present and phobic disorders may also result. Irritability and crying are typical symptoms of this stage.
The "Flight" Response Mode: The "flight" response mode often alternates with the fight pattern. Most individuals would run away from danger if they could do so safely. When physical escape is actually or perceived as impossible, then mental escape occurs. This is the avoidance or emotional numbing stage where denial, minimization, rationalization and disassociation are subconsciously used as ways to psychologically escape from the threat or presence of violence.
Cognitive Ability and Memory Loss: The third major impact of BWS is to the cognitive and memory areas. Here, the victim begins to have intrusive memories of the abuse or may actually develop psychogenic amnesia and not always remember important details or events. The victim may have trouble following his or her thoughts in a logical way, being distracted by intrusive memories that may be flashbacks to previous battering incidents. The victim may disassociate himself or herself when faced with painful events, memories, reoccurring nightmares or other associations not readily apparent to the observer...
Articles from earlier this month:
JUDGE BLASTS DEFENSE LAWYER'S 'DELIBERATE STRATEGY OF DELAY' IN MURDER CASE
New York Daily News
BY Thomas Zambito
Wednesday, November 11th 2009, 4:00 AM
[Excerpts] An irate judge slapped a lawyer with $2,000 in fines and effectively derailed his battered-wife defense of a woman accused of killing her ex-cop husband last year. Queens Supreme Court Justice Arthur Cooperman said lawyer Michael Dowd thwarted efforts to have a prosecution psychologist interview defendant Barbara Sheehan. He cited "a deliberate strategy of delay" and said Dowd's outbursts during a July 2009 interview caused her to have "an emotional breakdown." Sheehan, 48, is accused of pumping 11 bullets into the back of her husband, former NYPD Sgt. Raymond Sheehan, while he shaved in their Howard Beach home on Feb. 18, 2008. Dowd had planned to use expert witnesses to argue that Sheehan was a battered wife, but the judge blocked psychiatric testimony yesterday - gutting his strategy. The lawyer - who has sparred repeatedly with Cooperman for months and urged the judge to let someone else preside over the trial - objected. "If you want to do something to me, here I am do it to me," Dowd said. "But don't take it out on this woman who's been abused half her life." [LINK]
BLACK WIDOW SHRINK RAP
New York Post
By WILLIAM J. GORTA
November 11, 2009
[Excerpts] The Queens mom who killed her ex-cop hubby after years of alleged abuse isn't allowed to use battered woman's syndrome as a defense -- because she missed an appointment with a prosecution shrink. Queens Supreme Court Justice Arthur Cooperman angrily denied Barbara Sheehan and her lawyer, Michael Dowd, the right to use the crucial strategy because he said the pair blew off the latest in a series of court-ordered exams by a prosecution expert on the issue. "This is the most awful, unprecedented decision I've ever read," Dowd said outside court. "We have to present a defense without any context of a battered woman's life." Dowd said prosecutors now have Sheehan's entire account of the shooting, based on the exams and battery of psychological tests that she had already taken. [LINK]
ACCUSED KILLER CAN NOT USE BATTERED WIFE SYNDROME DEFENSE: JUDGE [sic]
New York Post
By WILLIAM J. GORTA
November 10, 2009
[Excerpts] The Queens woman who said she killed her ex-cop husband after years of abuse will not be able to use battered woman’s syndrome as a defense, a judge ruled today. Queens Supreme Court Justice Arthur Cooperman shot down Barbara Sheehan’s defense, saying she and her lawyer, Michael Dowd, blew off a court-ordered exam by a prosecution expert. But Dowd said the Sept. 18 exam was never actually ordered. Dowd had a conflicting court appearance that Cooperman cleared with the other judge, but the date of the exam was never finalized in court, the lawyer said. “This is the most awful, unprecedented decision I’ve ever read,” Dowd said outside court. “We have to present a defense without any context of a battered woman’s life.” Sheehan went through the exam and took a battery of psychological tests several weeks later. Worse, Dowd said, was the fact that prosecutors now had Sheehan’s entire account of the shooting – normally they would be unable to question her. Dowd had to turn over the notes of Sheehan’s session with her own expert and the DA’s office recorded several hours of her exams with the prosecution’s shrink. Cooperman placed the blame squarely on Dowd’s shoulders. “All this could have been avoided if we had moved on expeditiously and without delay,” Cooperman told Dowd. “Whose fault is that?” Dowd also accused the DA’s office of hypocrisy, saying that while it cried loud and long about domestic violence while prosecuting state Sen. Hiram Monserrate for injuring his girlfriend, it has gone out of its way to thwart a battered woman from presenting her defense. “The DA has suggested that my client’s history of abuse is some sort of ‘claim’ that she’s making,” Dowd said. “They should be ashamed of themselves.” Queens DA Richard Brown declined comment. [LINK]
2008 VIDEO INTERVIEW
[police officer involved domestic violence law enforcement fatality fatalities murder self defense battered woman's syndrome female]