ABA urges curtailing of 'gay panic' defense

Wed. August 14, 2013 8:52 AM

San Francisco, CA - The American Bar Association (ABA) adopted policies relating to the "gay panic" defense when the association's policymaking body met during the 2013 ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco, a press release stated.

The House of Delegates approved six recommendations sponsored by the Criminal Justice Section regarding the "gay panic" defense, including the ABA urging "federal, state, local and territorial governments to take legislative action to curtail the availability and effectiveness of the 'gay panic' and 'trans panic' defenses."

The resolution added that "such legislative action should include:

(a) Requiring courts in any criminal trial or proceeding, upon the request of a party, to instruct the jury not to let bias, sympathy, prejudice, or public opinion influence its decision about the victims, witnesses, or defendants based upon sexual orientation or gender identity; and

(b) Specifying that neither a non-violent sexual advance, nor the discovery of a person's sex or gender identity, constitutes legally adequate provocation to mitigate the crime of murder to manslaughter, or to mitigate the severity of any non-capital crime."