Legislators in California and New York are trying to limit the “gay panic” defense
Lawmakers in California and New York are considering bills to deter the common courtroom strategy of making a victim's sexual orientation central to a criminal defense.
Both measures would require judges to remind jurors that bias toward the victim cannot influence their deliberations.
California's bill also would instruct juries that gay panic defenses are inconsistent with state laws protecting gays, lesbians and transgenders from discrimination.
This actually seems like a fair law to me. Lawyers should be able to use whatever defense they like, but I think a judge telling the jury that “prejudice isn’t a legal reason to kill someone” is a great idea. The ability for a murderer to go free because their lawyer played on a jury’s own prejudice is sort of sickening, not to mention a danger to society.
It was prompted by the murder of 17-year-old Gwen Araujo, a transgender teenager who was beaten and strangled in 2002 after two men with whom she'd had anal sex learned she was biologically male.
I can’t believe this has to be said, but, ummm, boys have penises and girls have vaginas, so the next time you and your buddy decide to run bustos on an underage teen, you should perhaps, you know, feel around, or something.
Tags: Gay Rights•Gay Panic•Gwen Araujo