NEW YORK: Lawmakers Ban Gay/Trans Panic Defense

The New York Times reports:

Since as early as the 1960s, defense lawyers have introduced the idea that people accused of violent crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people had acted in a state of temporary insanity caused and justified by their victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

The legal strategy, known as the “gay panic” or “transgender panic” defenses, was not always effective, and as attitudes toward L.G.B.T. people shifted, it was used less often. But it has still been deployed in recent years by lawyers hoping to win a jury’s sympathy, lessen a defendant’s charges or shorten a sentence.

Assemblyman Daniel J. O’Donnell [photo] and State Senator Brad Hoylman, both gay Democrats from Manhattan, introduced bills last weekend that would stop people charged with murder from mounting gay panic or transgender panic defenses.