Generally, feminists and other liberals, and in particular multi-culturalists, share the common goal of seeking to make American law reflective of a greater variety of voices and experiences beyond those of the dominant, white-male culture. There currently exists an issue, however, about which feminists find it necessary to depart from this goal: whether to permit a criminal defendant to introduce exculpatory cultural evidence. Much of the feminist literature on the use of the “cultural defense” argues that introduction of such evidence serves only to deny immigrant women and children the same protections afforded others in our criminal justice system because the defendants invoking such a “defense” tend to be immigrant males charged with crimes against women or children pursuant to conduct that is tolerated as part of the defendant's patriarchal, immigrant culture. This Comment will address the tension between the larger goals of feminism and the current opposition to the use of a “cultural defense”—what has been called the “liberal's dilemma.”

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