Friday, January 27, 2006

Panic Attacked

Some good news out of California:

The California Assembly late Thursday passed legislation to limit the use of the so-called gay panic defense.

If a defense attorney attempted to use the argument that a client committed a crime out of panic because the victim were gay or trans[gender] a judge would be required to instruct the jury that the use of societal bias, including so-called "panic strategies," to influence the proceedings of a criminal trial is inconsistent with the public policy of the State of California.

The law was enacted in response to the attack and killing of Gwen Araujo by three men who, after having sex with the teen, then discovered that she was transgender. The defense attorneys argued that their clients' charges should be reduced from first- or second-degree murder to voluntary manslaughter because they had simply acted out of panic. I guess she was "asking for it", eh boys?

Fortunately, the (second) jury (after a mistrial) saw through this weak ploy and found two of the three men guilty of second-degree murder. The jury deadlocked on the third and he eventually pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter.

I find this to be a lucid indictment of the canard that hate crimes legislation necessarily requires "reading the mind" of defendants, not to mention the contention that such legislation is "not needed". It's hard to make that argument when the accused use their hatred for their victim as their main defense.


not_over_it said...

I read this last night and it made me think of the "but he was Irish" defense in early America, where it was OK to kill someone as long as they were Irish.

The hate's the same, the faces just change.

When are people ever going to learn?

KEvronius said...

i've always said, "homophobia" was just some pseudo-psycho-babble meant to rationalize hate. happy to see that canard ain't flyin' in cali.