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information on opposition to sexual panic legal defense - killing gays, tgs will be a lesser crime

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  • Teresa Binstock
    Per the following, I am helping to pull together a position paper for a group of California psychologists to support this legislation. I am hoping you might be
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 1, 2006
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      Per the following, I am helping to pull together a position paper for a group of California psychologists to support this legislation. I am hoping you might be able to post this inquiry to other relevant lists, soliciting commentary and input on the need to restrict the use of the homosexual panic legal defense, based upon clinical information or empirical research. We are hoping to have this information together by mid-February.
       
      Ed Dunbar
       
      PS -- people can contact me at this email address or
      laocspssi@...

       

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


      For More Information, Contact: Cory Jasperson at (916) 319-2022

      Assembly Approves Limit on Use of 'Gay Panic Strategy' Assembly Bill 1160 Passes Assembly, Moves to State Senate


      (Sacramento, CA) - Assembly Bill 1160, authored by Assemblywoman Sally J. Lieber (D-San Jose), which limits the use of the 'gay panic strategy,' passed the California Assembly along party lines. The 'gay panic strategy' is a term used to describe a strategy or excuse employed by some murder defendants who argue that they did not intentionally kill their victim. Rather, the defendant asserts that he or she flew into such a rage upon learning that the victim was gay or transgender that the killing was actually the lesser offense of manslaughter.


      A.B. 1160 declares that it is against public policy for a defendant to play upon the bias of the jury, or for a jury to allow bias against the victim to enter into its decision-making. The bill further mandates a revised jury instruction to ensure that a juror's duty to operate free from bias is clearly stated to each juror.


      "This is a critical step forward in the effort to rid our courtrooms of bias," said Lieber. "We must ensure that California's criminal justice system treats all victims equally."


      A.B. 1160 was introduced in response to recent cases in California in which murder defendants have tried to lessen the charges against them by arguing that they acted in a panic after discovering that the victim was gay or transgender. The most prominent of these cases was that of Gwen Araujo, a transgender teen from Fremont, who was murdered by acquaintances when they discovered she was biologically male.


      "California has a powerful law that enhances the penalties of criminals who commit hate crimes," said Geoffrey Kors, EQCA Executive Director. "The 'panic' defense all but invalidates this law by reducing sentences due to the hate the defendant had for his or her victim."


      The Assembly approved the measure on a vote of 45 - 32, with 2 members not voting and 1 member absent. The bill now moves to the Senate.


      Leslie Bulbuk Office of Assemblywoman Sally Lieber Assistant Speaker Pro Tempore California State Assembly

      District Office 274 Castro Street Mountain View, CA 94041 Phone: 408.277.2003 Fax: 408.277.208

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