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

Publication Date: 
May 14, 2014
The Sacramento Bee
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.


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.”