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Yuba City Woman Acquitted Of Homicide In Hatchet Slaying Of Mother-In-Law

Publication Date: 
May 14, 2014
Source: 
The Sacramento Bee
Author: 
Stephen Magagnini

Professor Robert Weisberg comments on an unusual criminal defense in a homicide case for.The Sacramento Bee.

Baljinder Kaur said her mother-in-law terrified her so much that she hacked the woman to death to save herself and her unborn daughter.

A Sutter County jury agreed that Kaur, an Indian immigrant, had suffered years of abuse from her mother-in-law because she was giving birth only to girls. Late last month, she was unanimously acquitted of first-degree murder in a novel case that put traditional Indian culture and the cult of sons on trial.

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The case has attracted attention from Indian media outlets in England and the United States. “I’ve never heard anything like this,” said Robert Weisberg, a veteran criminal law professor at Stanford Law School. “This is a fascinating case. The defense – accounting for cultural standards and ‘gendercide’ – is plausible and obviously worked. Even if the threats weren’t direct, given what the daughter-in-law knew about the mother-in-law’s attitude toward female children, it’s reasonable to believe that if she was such a horrible, hellish person, she posed an unusual threat to Baljinder and her unborn baby.”