State v. Felton

State v. Felton, 110 Wis. 2d 485, 329 N.W.2d 161 (1983) involved a heat-of-passion defense. It illustrates how the supreme court has consistently concluded that the history of violence by the defendant against the victim is relevant in evaluating the objective standard of what a reasonable person would have done under similar circumstances. As the court explained, "while it is true that a defendant's background is not in general relevant to the objective test for heat of passion, the question is how an ordinary person faced with a similar provocation would react. The provocation can consist, as it did here, of a long history of abuse. It is proper in applying the objective test, therefore, to consider how other persons similarly situated with respect to that type, or that history, of provocation would react. ...Thus, this court has held that the objective test may be satisfied by considering the situation of an ordinary person who is a battered spouse." (Felton, 110 Wis. 2d at 509-10, 329 N.W.2d at 172-73.)