California outlaws ‘trans/gay panic’ homicide defense

California outlaws ‘trans/gay panic’ homicide defense

Defendants will no longer be able to use "trans panic" and "gay panic" defenses in California courts to strengthen their cases as Gov. Jerry Brown has outlawed the rule.

The so-called "gay panic" defense rule had been increasingly used to trim homicide charges down to manslaughter. Many defendants made use of the defense to claim that they were panicked into committing a crime because a homosexual person made an advance on them. Recently the defense rule was used in some cases involving transgender people.

But the signing of the AB 2501 into law by Gov. Brown made it clear that no individual will be able to make use of "gay panic" defenses in criminal courts in the Golden State. The California Assembly approved the bill, authored by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, last month with 50-10 vote.

Asking assemblymen to support her bill, Bonilla said "gay panic" defenses were unjustly targeting members of gay or LGBT communities.

Stressing on the need to outlaw the controversial defenses, Bonilla said, "There is absolutely no justification for the use of 'panic defenses.' Clearly this tactic has been utilized by defendants, unjustly targeting members of the LGBT community, based on damaging stereotypes."

He added that signing of the AB 2501 into law would allow the state to move forward to remove intolerable and unacceptable discrimination against the LGBT community.

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