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New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers - NYSACDL

New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers - NYSACDL
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Michael Dowd Obtains Acquittal in Domestic Abuse Case

October 6, 2011 – A jury in State Supreme Court in Queens has acquitted Barbara Sheehan of second-degree murder charges.  Ms. Sheehan shot and killed her husband of over 20 years, ex-NYPD Sergeant Raymond Sheehan.  The defense asserted that Ms. Sheehan was worn down by years of abuse and feared that her husband would surely kill her had she not shot him first.  Her children (fathered by the dead husband) supported her chronicles of physical abuse.


Ms. Sheehan was represented by Michael Dowd,  NYSACDL Board Member and well-known defense attorney who has long defended battered women.  Mr. Dowd is the founding director of the Pace University Women’s Justice Center and the recipient of awards for his work on behalf of battered women.


Ms. Sheehan was convicted of a weapons possession charge for the firearm used in the murder, a charge which appears to have been a compromise by the jury which had earlier indicated that it was deadlocked.  She will be sentenced in the upcoming weeks and faces 3 1/2 to 15 years in prison.