Virginia Strikes ‘Trans Panic’ Defense of Violent Crime

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Virginia on Wednesday became the 12th state to ban the gay and trans “panic” defense, a controversial legal strategy that allows a defendant to explain violent crimes based on their discovery of the victim’s gender identity, reports Bloomberg Law. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed legislation that bans use of the defense for murder or voluntary manslaughter charges. Defendants relying on gay and trans panic defenses have generally used them to establish theories of provocation, diminished mental capacity or self-defense, according to a report from the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law. Twenty-three states have reported court decisions discussing the gay and trans panic defenses since the 1960s. LGBTQ advocates said they hope more states will reject the defense, creating a domino effect. The Human Rights Campaign documented at least 40 killings of transgender or gender non-conforming people in 2020, the highest since the group began tracking that data in 2013, and there have been at least 10 murders of transgender people of color this ye

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