Sunday, September 21, 2008

Justice Delayed, Denied And Disgraceful

TransGriot Note: Thanks to Latoya and the peeps at for giving me the honor of writing this guest post for them.

It seems that no matter where we live or what decade we're talking about, when the justice system concerns transwomen of color, justice is delayed, denied, and disgraceful.

Back in 1998, William Palmer, the man who killed Chanelle Pickett in Boston was given a 2 1/2 year sentence with 6 months suspended, and 5 years probation. Never mind the fact that Palmer strangled Pickett, then slept for six hours next to Chanelle's lifeless body lying beside his bed before he turned himself in. The judge presiding over the case commented bitterly to the defendant at the time "Mr. Palmer should kiss the ground the defense counsel walks on."

On August 12, 2002 Stephanie Thomas and Ukea Davis die in a hail of bullets on the same southeast Washington DC street corner that Tyra Hunter died due to EMT neglect. As of this writing there's not only been no arrest, but the execution style killings aren't even classified as a hate crime.

Never mind the fact that rumors in the community persist that the trigger men who executed the grisly crime are guys who picked up the two transwomen on dates and found out their transgender status after the fact.

Tiffany Berry's killer, DeAndre Blake, walked the streets of Memphis, TN as a free man for almost two years after being released on a ridiculously low $20,000 bond. Blake admitted he had killed Berry on February 9, 2006 because he did not like the way she had “touched” him. He was arrested last month for killing his own two year old daughter.

Even across The Pond, the recent trial of 18 year old Shanniel Hyatt for the murder of Kellie Telesford had the same depressing results.

So what's causing these miscarriages of justice?

For starters, we've always had the situation in this country in which the lives of people of color aren't as valued as the life a white male or female. Toss transgender status into that mix, and it's a foul recipe for injustice.

Add to this recipe for injustice trans panic defenses. What the defendant will do is claim for example, that when they discovered that the woman they're with is discovered to be transgender, it causes them to become so enraged that they committed the crime they ordinarily wouldn't have done and were not of sound mind and body when they did it.

In a nutshell, they're trying to blame the victim and use the sensationalist nature of transgender issues against them in order to get away with murder.

And too many times it works.

You can also add to the injustice stew the fact that transwomen of color are disproportionately saddled with 'exotic' hypersexual images. The Shanniel Hyatt defense team seized on that to suggest that Telesford died as the result of a kinky sex game.

The ludicrous assertion that transpeople are trying to trick people is also a factor playing into these carriages of injustice. We'll hear that the murdered transwoman was trying to 'deceive' someone, and therefore the defendant was justified in killing them after discovering the 'deception'.

Crimes committed against us should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. If they aren't, it sends the message that it's open season on transgender people and you can kill us with a slap on the wrist.

But as the old saying goes, what goes around comes around. A murderer you set free in a transgender case could one day take the life of one of your loved ones as the Berry case painfully pointed out.

These are just a few examples of how these factors add up to justice delayed, denied and with a disgraceful stench attached to it.

So what do we do to combat it?

The judge in the Angie Zapata case is off to a good start. He not only denied the attempts of Allen Andrade's defense lawyers to reduce the charges, the bias crime one is sticking, too. We can only hope the positive trends continue and that Angie's family receives justice.

Eliminating the 'trans panic' defense would help as well. Making prosecuting attorneys aware of it so that they can come up with strategies to eviscerate it would also be helpful while we push for legislation that would ban them as the Gwen Araujo Justice for Victims Act does in California.

The great civil rights leader Asa Philip Randolph once stated, "A community is democratic only when the humblest and weakest person can enjoy the highest civil, economic, and social rights that the biggest and most powerful possess."

Transgender people are the folks most in need of civil rights protection. We need the traditional advocates of justice in minority communities such as LULAC and the NAACP to step up and forcefully advocate for transgender people of color. It would send the message to John P. Public, the potential jury pool members, that transgender citizens are not only valuable members of society but we are somebody's brother, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin and friend.

Once people begin to realize that we're human beings with hopes, dreams and lives like them, hopefully we'll begin to see less cases of justice delayed, denied and disgraceful when it comes to transpeople of color and more cases in which justice is served.


Monica Roberts said...

Good question.

In the short run I'd suggest getting in contact with your local GLBT org who will probably have monitors on this case.

Your long term situation will be to petition your state legislature to pass a law similar to California's banning the trans panic defense until we can get it done on a national level.

PinayTG said...

My heart bleeds every time I hear these stories retold. I don't think they can be repeated enough. Thanks Monica for honoring these trans women's lives. Is there a national organization in the US for trans people of color?

Véronique said...

Monica, I love what you post here, but sometimes an entry shines particularly brightly. This one was excellent. Thank you for singing the songs of those whom we must not forget.

Monica Roberts said...

I was writing for someone else's blog, so I had to step it up another level. ;)

sexy said...







一夜情聊天室,一夜情,情色聊天室,情色,美女交友,交友,AIO交友愛情館,AIO,成人交友,愛情公寓,做愛影片,做愛,性愛,微風成人區,微風成人,嘟嘟成人網,成人影片,成人,成人貼圖,18成人,成人圖片區,成人圖片,成人影城,成人小說,成人文章,成人網站,成人論壇,情色貼圖,色情貼圖,色情A片,A片,色情小說,情色小說,情色文學,寄情築園小遊戲, 情色A片,色情影片,AV女優,AV,A漫,免費A片,A片下載

Anonymous said...

(法新社倫敦四日電) 英國情色大亨芮孟的公司a片昨天a片下載說,芮孟日前去世,享壽八十二歲;這位身價上億的房地產開發商,曾經在倫敦av女優推出第一情色視訊成人影片脫衣舞表演。色情





Anonymous said...

搬家搬家搬家公司搬家搬家 百家乐 轮盘 21点 德州扑克 百家乐系统 真人娱乐场 百家乐 足球 德州扑克 电子游戏 英格兰超级联赛 德国甲组联赛 意大利甲组联赛 西班牙甲组联赛 法国甲组联赛欧冠杯 英超 足球比分 足球彩票 体育彩票 即时比分 免費a片 a片 免費av 色情影片 情色 情色網 色情網站 色情 成人網 成人圖片 成人影片 18成人 av av女優 av av女優 情慾 走光 做愛 sex H漫 情色 情趣用品 情色 a片 a片 成人網站 成人影片 情趣用品 情趣用品 アダルト アダルト アダルトサイト アダルトサイト 情趣用品徵信社徵信徵信徵信社外遇徵信徵信社外遇