Determined whether the prosecution of battered woman for murdering her husband was impermissibly tainted by the prosecution's baseless suggestions that she worked as a prostitute.
Yaite Gonzalez-Valdes is a battered Florida woman who was convicted of murdering her common-law husband. Legal Momentum participated as an amicus in her appeal seeking retrial, because the prosecution was tainted by repeated, baseless suggestions that Ms. Gonzalez-Valdes had worked as a prostitute. The prosecutor's conduct was all the more objectionable because it violated a pre-trial order prohibiting any evidence suggesting that Ms. Gonzalez-Valdes had engaged in prostitution. Our contributions to this brief were crafted by our National Judicial Education Program, which has worked for decades to eradicate sex bias and sex stereotyping in the courts. We pointed to the extremely damaging impact of the prostitution claim on Ms. Gonzalez-Valdes's credibility, both as a defendant and as a battered woman. The stereotypes associated with prostitutes lead jurors to believe that a woman is untruthful; that she must have provoked or deserved any abuse she suffered; and that she would know how to take care of herself and therefore could not be a "real" battered woman.
The Florida Supreme Court denied review. Our co-counsel on the brief were Nina M. Sollo and Professor Donna Coker of the University of Miami Law School.