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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

74-Year-Old Woman Released After 32 Years in Prison

A change in laws concerning domestic violence might have changed a woman's prison sentence. 

The USC Post-Conviction Justice Program assigned law students to Jones' case eight years ago. 

Jones was convicted of first degree murder, kidnapping, and robbery in 1981. She claimed her abusive boyfriend kidnapped two drug dealers and forced her at gunpoint to shoot them. One man died and the other survived.

Battered Women's Syndrome was not a valid plea when Jones testified more than three decades ago. However, legislation introduced in the 90's allowed experts to explain how abuse affected her decisions.

The judge said Jones' sentence would have been less than a dozen years under the new law. The District Attorney agreed to her release. 

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