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Illinois to Ban “Gay Panic Defense” in Criminal Cases

January 3rd, 2018 at 7:11 pm

gay panic defense, homicide cases, homosexual orientation, Illinois crime, Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyerWith the new year’s arrival, a slew of new laws are poised to take effect in Illinois and a few old ones are about to be repealed. Fox News reports that one old law that will be removed from the Illinois Compiled Statutes in 2018 is the so called “gay panic defense.”

What Was the Gay Panic Defense?

A gay panic defense is a legal defense that is available in homicide cases (or occasionally in other violent cases) that a defendant can use to justify violent acts against a homosexual victim if his or her violence was provoked by unexpectedly learning of the victim’s sexual orientation.

According to a report issued by the American Bar Association in 2013, gay and trans panic defenses were implemented by states across the U.S. years ago back when widespread public aversion to LGBT individuals was the norm and a victim’s sexual orientation was seen as justification for a defendant’s violent reaction towards them.

The Associated Press notes that gay panic defenses were usually passed in order to provide a legal defense for an individual who unknowingly engaged in a flirtation with a gay individual and then, upon discovering their homosexuality, violently attacked the gay individual in a sort of passionate involuntary response.

The American Bar Association’s report also notes that gay panic defenses have been used over the decades to mitigate murder charges down to the lesser charges of manslaughter or justifiable homicide in the following three different ways:

  1. Insanity or Diminished Capacity: Via the gay panic defense defendants have claimed temporary insanity or diminished capacity by arguing that learning of the victim’s sexual orientation triggered a nervous breakdown in the defendant. In the past this type of reaction was known as a “homosexual panic disorder” but the American Psychiatric Association discredited this order back in 1973.
  1. Sufficient Provocation: The gay panic defense has also been used to bolster defense of provocation arguments put forth by murder defendants. In essence these defendants argued that, although completely non-violent, the victim’s sexual advance was sufficient provocation to induce the defendant to kill.
  1. Self-Defense: Murder defendants have also argued that, due to their victim’s homosexual orientation, they reasonably believed that the victim was about to cause them serious bodily harm.

Contact Us Today for Help

If you have been charged with a crime in Illinois, it is critical that you consult with a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer about your legal options without delay. At The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we represent both adult and juvenile criminal defendants accused of committing a wide variety of crimes across Illinois including; driving under the influence (DUI), shoplifting, burglary, domestic battery, drug possession and dealing, disorderly conduct, and criminal trespass, just to name a few. To find out what our firm can do for you, schedule a confidential initial consultation at our Rolling Meadows office today.

Sources:

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/12/28/activists-to-copy-illinois-gay-panic-defense-ban-elsewhere.html

http://lgbtbar.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2014/02/Gay-and-Trans-Panic-Defenses-Resolution.pdf

https://apnews.com/9dc24f2031c8465081d790152f6efbd8/Activists-to-copy-Illinois-‘gay-panic-defense’-ban-elsewhere

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Written by Staff Writer

January 3rd, 2018 at 7:11 pm

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