Expert Testimony on Domestic Violence: A Discourse Analysis

Expert Testimony on Domestic Violence: A Discourse Analysis
Melissa Hamilton
April 2009

ISBN-13:  978-1-59332-323-3 / Hardcover
Dimensions:  5.5 x 8.5 / vi, 208 pages

Price   $65.00


Hamilton examines the impact of social science evidence on legal reasoning in domestic violence cases. Relying on interdisciplinary theories and methodologies in law, Hamilton analyzes the text and rhetoric from a body of appellate opinions in which expert witnesses provided social science-based testimony about domestic violence. Expert testimony was highly influential on, yet was rarely challenged by, the appellate judges. From this body of judicial writings, Hamilton uncovers typologies of battered women, battering men, and abusive relationships. She also notes the discursive tension in the judicial opinions in the cases in which the common typologies did not apply well to the specific defendants, victims, or their circumstances based on the factual evidence in the underlying trials.

About the Author

Melissa Hamilton received a J.D. from The University of Texas School of Law and a Ph.D from the University of Texas at Austin in the Department of Sociology. She is a former police officer, corrections officer, and appellate court clerk. Hamilton currently is a faculty member at the University of Toledo College of Law.