California is the first state to pass a ban on using the “gay panic” defense to reduce a murder charge.
You can no longer wiggle out of a murder charge in California by saying you were frightened by a scary lesbian.
Current California law allows a murder charge to be reduced to manslaughter if the killing happened in the heat of passion - the so-called “panic defense”. Defendants charged with murdering members of the LGBT community have been able to claim they acted in a “moment of passion” upon discovering the victim was LGBT, and therefor their crime met the requirements for a reduced charge of manslaughter. The bill that passed the Assembly this week will bar defendants from using their victim’s gender or sexual orientation to support a panic defense. An identical bill passed the state senate in May.
Democratic Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla (right) sponsored the bill, which passed on a 50-10 vote. Ms. Bonilla told reporters that such defenses legitimize violence against LGBT people.
Though The American Bar Association advocates curtailing the use of the “gay panic” defense, California is the first state to ban using the “heat of passion” defense because the victim was LGBT.
The bill now heads for Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for his signature.
Susan Bonilla photo via Facebook
Source: Jean Ann Esselink for The New Civil Rights Movement
First, the bill in question is AB2501. I really, really hate the fact that the media pretty much never cites the actual bill when they’re talking about legislation.
Second, the most important thing about this bill is that unlike most bills of this type, AB2501 is fully inclusive of trans people as opposed to being for gays only. To quote the bill itself: “provocation was not objectively reasonable if it resulted from the discovery of, knowledge about, or potential disclosure of the victim’s or defendant’s actual or perceived gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation…”
I want to do things with my life but I also want to bury myself in a forest and let the moss grow over me so where does that leave us