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Criminal Law Keyed to Gershowitz
State v. Grecinger
Citation:569 N.W.2d 189.
The defendant had been in an on-and-off relationship with the victim, Barbara Skoglund. Skoglund testified that in September of 1991, on the night before a party, the defendant grabbed her by her hair, slapped her, threw her to the floor, and choked her until she lost consciousness. The next day, Skoglund said that she did not want to attend the party but, according to her testimony, the defendant insisted that she go. At the party, the defendant beat her until she lost consciousness several times and dragged her to his motorcycle. Two women stopped when they saw her running from the defendant and let her into their car. Skoglund was admitted to the hospital and she remained there for five days. She suffered from numerous injuries. A few weeks later, Skoglund resumed her relationship with the defendant, after he told her that he had stomach cancer and would not live much longer. At the defendant’s insistence, Skoglund called the sheriff’s department and recanted, claiming that her injuries actually had been inflicted by two unknown men who assaulted her when she left the party.
In her testimony, Skoglund admitted that she lied to some people about the cause of her injuries because she was afraid of the defendant. However, Skoglund also testified that she had previously identified the defendant as her assailant to several others. On multiple occasions in 1992 and 1993, Skoglund petitioned for orders for protection against the defendant. Finally, in June 1994, Skoglund sought to reopen the investigation against the defendant for the alleged September 1991 assault, because she was afraid he was going to kill her.
When the defendant took the stand, his version of events drastically differed from Skoglund’s. He denied that he was physically violent toward Skoglund. To support this testimony, numerous friends of the defendant testified that they did not witness any violence between the defendant and Skoglund at the party. The defense also attacked Skoglund’s credibility, suggesting that the three-year gap between the time the incident occurred and the time Skoglund pursued prosecution demonstrated that she was not credible.
In response to the defense’s attack on Skoglund’s credibility, the prosecution sought to introduce expert testimony on battered woman syndrome. The court admitted the expert testimony over the defendant’s objection. He was convicted of attempted murder in the second degree and assault in the third degree. He appealed.
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