SB 1385: Expanding Habeas Corpus Provisions

Olivia Wang, Free Battered Women
Free Battered Women is thrilled to report that SB
1385 passed through the Senate Public Safety
Committee on March 30th, 2004.
The bill (authored by Senator Burton and
co-authored by Senators Kuehl, Romero, and
Assembly Member Jackson), expands the class of
domestic violence survivors who are eligible for
habeas relief. It also changes language about
“Battered Women’s Syndrome” to the more favored
term “battering and its effects”. Current law (PC
1473.5) allows survivors of domestic violence who
killed their batterers prior to 1992 to file
habeas corpus petitions challenging their
convictions. SB 1385 expands relief to include
not just survivors who defended themselves, but
all survivors whose offenses were directly
related to the abuse they faced (for
example, survivors who were coerced by their
batterers to commit crimes). Among other proposed
changes, SB 1385 also extends the current 1992
cut-off date to 1996. For more information go to