Outrageous. The NY Legislature blocks Governor Cuomo’s effort to ban gay and trans panic defenses.

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In February, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he was putting a measure in his 30 day budget amendments to proactively ban the use of so-called trans-panic or gay-panic as a defense in cases where gay or transgender people are assaulted.

The LGBT Bar of NY was quick to applaud this move to secure fair courts for LGBT people in NY. Unfortunately, the state legislature had other ideas.

According to the New York Law Journal:

A proposal by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to ban so-called gay and trans panic defense strategies was not included in the Senate and Assembly’s budget proposals because it would place limits on defense strategies, according to a key lawmaker.

The LGBT Bar Association of New York agrees with the American Bar Association. So-called gay and trans “panic defenses” have absolutely no place in our justice system, and should be kept out of the courtroom. Period. There is no good reason to oppose Governor Cuomo’s effort to prohibit their use in New York courts. We have lost too many members of our community to anti-LGBT violence.

Banning these harmful defenses will help to curb explicit anti-LGBT bias in open court. But this is not enough. There is still the very real possibility that subconscious or implicit bias can find its way into the courtroom and affect the outcome of a case. The challenge of addressing implicit bias, however, is no reason to oppose efforts to ban these victim-blaming defenses. New York should join Illinois and California by banning harmful gay and trans “panic defenses.”

In the meantime, the LGBT Bar Association of New York will work to educate the legal community and our elected representatives. Judges can and should refuse to admit evidence and arguments that attempt to invoke gay or trans ‘panic.’ Attorneys should object to the introduction of evidence designed to support these claims.”

Executive Director, LeGaL @lgbtbarny. Attorney promoting justice in & through the legal profession for the #LGBT community. 40 Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40.

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