Is domestic abuse a just defense for murder?

Posted Feb. 16, 2009, at 5:29 p.m.

A Waldo County grand jury indicted a Belfast woman last week for the murder of her husband. The husband, police confirmed, was gathering materials to build a “dirty bomb.” State police have revealed little about the case, but did say the shooting was related to

domestic abuse.

Should a victim of domestic violence be able to cite the abuse as a defense in court, even if the abuse was on-going, but the threat wasn’t immediate? Should

state criminal law be amended to include such a justification, just as the law now allows a

self-defense justification from an immediate deadly threat? Or should the law remain as it now stands?