This work of fiction is an amalgamation of composite sketches concerning battered women whom I have interviewed at considerable length over the course of many years. Its fusion was additionally inspired by one battered woman's jury trial and her subsequent imprisonment for the shooting death of her husband. Therefore, this narrative is based both on fact and inspiration, a roman a clef, [translated, a novel with a key]; that is, a thinly-guised account of many actual events. The courtroom scenes are virtually verbatim. Back-and-forth bimonthly (in this case meaning twice a month) correspondence with one female inmate over the course of several years is closely transcribed as written; that is, the inmate's misspellings, poor grammar, et cetera, albeit instances of Caitlin Fitzgerald's (pseudonym) syntax have been altered for the sake of clarity. Too, all other names and locations were changed for obvious reasons. Again, this is a factual accounting framed as fiction. Be prepared to enter a dark world of spousal violence, murder, courtroom drama, a prisoner's life behind bars, and Caitlin's eventual freedom. Embellishment is employed in the final chapter and epilogue solely as a tool to sensationalize and carry the story to its conclusion; otherwise, this narrative is as real as it gets. The theme of this work is awareness: awareness of how the criminal courts work as well as how they fail; awareness of how various police departments work to build a case for the district attorney in lieu of endeavoring to ascertain truth; awareness of inept and corrupt law enforcement officers; awareness of how a criminal defense attorney misserved his client; awareness of the discretionary and unlimited powers of seated judges to rule on the admission or rejection as to what they themselves allow into evidence. In essence, this is a story based on the frailties and failures of our criminal justice system. It is a story of supposed truths and half-truths, often concealed between the poles of outright prevarication and distortion. Firstly, it is a book about battered women and what they must do in order to free themselves from the chains of verbal, emotional and physical abuse; admittedly, easier said than done. Lastly, it is a book about one of our so-called freedoms; namely, the perversion of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution - our Freedom of Speech - for the Son of Sam law has prevented me, as well as anonymous sources cloaked within these pages, from telling this story as nonfiction. Keep in mind that there have been trials of battered women who have shot and killed their sleeping husbands and beaten (pun intended) the case against them in criminal court. Such a singular yet sometimes defensible action falls within the parameters of the battered-spousal syndrome and goes to the state of mind of the defendant at the time of the event. A commonplace criminal defense attorney would be far out of his or her league to argue such a case before a jury, let alone a case of self-defense as it applies to this syndrome. The intricacies are complex. A litigator would have to educate then convincingly argue that defense before a judge and jury. The task becomes altogether challenging when a consummate prosecutor attacks the credibility of that syndrome as pure junk science. One must never lose sight of the fact that a court trial, be it civil or criminal, is a contest between two lawyers - period. Win or lose at all cost is the name of the game. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is at best a cliche that lies somewhere between the poles of guilt and innocence.
Used availability for Robert Banfelder's Battered
July 2015 : USA Paperback
July 2015 : Canada, UK Kindle edition