2016 (Criminal Law) Bar Exam Questions: Question 19

[Answer/discuss the question below, or see 2016 bar exam Criminal Law Instructions; 2016 Mercantile Law questions: 123456789101112131415161718, and 19; See also 2016 Bar Exam: Information, Discussions, Tips, Questions and Results]


Romeo and Julia have been married for twelve (12) years and had two (2) children. The first few years of their marriage went along smoothly. However, on the fifth year onwards, they would often quarrel when Romeo comes home drunk. The quarrels became increasingly violent, marked by quiet periods when Julia would leave the conjugal dwelling. During these times of quiet, Romeo would “court” Julia with flowers and chocolate and convince her to return home, telling her that he could not live without her; or Romeo would ask Julia to forgive him, which she did, believing that if she humbled herself, Romeo would change. After a month of marital bliss, Romeo would return to his drinking habit and the quarrel would start again, verbally at first, until it would escalate to physical violence.

One night, Romeo came home drunk and went straight to bed. Fearing the onset of another violent fight, Julia stabbed Romeo while he was asleep. A week later, their neighbors discovered Romeo’s rotting corpse on the marital bed. Julia and the children were nowhere to be found. Julia was charged with parricide. She asserted “battered woman’s syndrome” as her defense

[a] Explain the “cycle of violence.” (2.5%)

[b] Is Julia’s “battered woman’s syndrome” defense meritorious? Explain. (2.5%)


  1. cycle of violence is the routine behavior or practice of the husband before, during and after the infliction of the violence against his spouse

    cannot avail of the defense due to the incomplete cycle of violence at that time

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  2. The following are the cycle of violence:

    1. The tension building phase;
    2. The acute battering incident; and
    3. The tranquil loving.

    Julia cannot avail the defense of battered woman syndrome because this defense is cumulative, there must be at least two episode involving the infliction of physical harm. Hence she is liable as charge of parricide.

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