Summary Of The Lavallee Case

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In September of 1986, Angelique Lyn Lavallee shot and killed her abusive husband Kevin Rust. The shooting took place in Winnipeg, Manitoba around the time of 1 am after the two had held a rowdy party in their home. Near the end of the night Rust had tried to break up an argument between Lavallee and his sister Wendy. Following this altercation, Lavallee and Rust went upstairs to the second floor where she fired two shots, the second being the fatal shot to the back of his head. After police had arrived to the scene, Lavallee was arrested and taken to the station where officers informed her that Rust had died and she would be charged with murder. “Lavallee was arraigned in Winnipeg on 8 April 1987, where she entered a plea of not guilty” (Sheehy, …show more content…

The pathologist identified bruises on Rust’s knuckles that were consistent with having hit Lavallee. Miller had the doctor “confirm that Battered Woman Syndrome is not a psychiatric term”(Sheehy, 2014, 22). One of Miller’s strategies was to get Lavallee to testify on grounds that if she did not, the defense would be “introducing medical and psychiatric evidence without an evidentiary foundation”(Sheehy, 2014, 33). Nonetheless, the judge decided Lavallee was not required to testify so Miller went on to persistently try to get Dr.Dirks to state that one emergency visit a year is normal. Miller continuously tried to suggest that Lavallee’s injuries could have been caused by anyone, not just Rust because her injuries were quite often ‘singular’. During Miller’s persecution he kept going over the same questions and “pounding away at the same questions” over and over again. In closing, Miller tried to discount Dr.Shane’s testimony and once again emphasized the fact that Lavallee herself did not actually testify. Overall, Miller did not have very strong arguments. He often just wrangled on for too long, went over the same points, and lost points with the judge a few ties as …show more content…

Upon arrest, she had told officers a string of inconsistencies and stated that the shooting was accidental. However, he made sure his evidence focused on self-defence. He started off giving examples of times when Rust had abused Lavallee and caused numerous hospital visits. Following, his first witness was a doctor from the hospital she frequently visited due to the injuries her husband always caused. He went on to review Dr.Shane’s testimony asking the jury to keep in mind that “the issue is not whether Lyn made the same choice on this day… that you would have made… [but] whether she thought she had to do what she did” (Sheehy, 2014, 42). Brodsky’s arguments shifted the perception of Lavallee from being an aggressive, foul-mouthed wife to being a victim of numerous life threatening circumstances. However, a special circumstance was presented. Before the jury was to go deliberate Lavallee’s verdict, the judge failed to instruct the jury on the defence of ‘accident’ and neglected to review the evidence of one of the witnesses. This could have hurt Lavallee’s chances of being acquitted, greatly. Nonetheless, Lavallee’s defense still made many strong arguments prior to. Brodsky touched on all the right points, called upon convincing witnesses, and ultimately gave a compelling case. Additionally, Brodsky helped shed some light on the issue of wife battering and the damages it

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