Oprah! Oprah in the Court!

Are talk shows changing the sensibilities of American jurors?

In the quiet of suburban Los Angeles, Moosa Hanoukai picked up a pipe wrench and bludgeoned his wife Manijeh to death. When the businessman did not contest the facts, prosecutors assumed they had an easy second-degree murder conviction. But Hanoukai's attorney James Blatt mounted this defense: his client was a victim of husband battering and 25 years of abuse. Furthermore, because of the stringencies of an Iranian-Jewish culture, Hanoukai felt trapped: he killed Manijeh because he was not allowed to divorce her. The jury empathized and found Hanoukai guilty only of voluntary manslaughter. Instead of 15 years to life, he may...

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