Monday, July 13, 2009

Opening Day Of DeLee Trial

Lost in the avalanche of news events such as the Sotomayor hearings and the scrubbed NASA shuttle launch was the start of the Dwight DeLee murder trial in Syracuse.

DeLee is the accused killer of Latisha Green and before the trial jumped off this morning TLDEF held a press conference on the steps of the Onondaga County courthouse.

During the press conference a statement was read by Teish's aunt Rhonda Gary calling for coverage of transpeople in hate crimes laws. The statement was originally supposed to be read by her mother Roxanne Green, but she was overcome with emotion over the moment and unable to do so.

News conference by the family of murder victim LaTeisha Green

Green's family supported her decision at age 16 to start transition

"But we couldn't shield her," Gary said. "She regularly received death threats and was beaten up by her peers in schools. We will never get to watch Teish achieve her goals, simply because someone was blinded by their bias against Teish and who she was."

"We call upon the lawmakers to be courageous and do the right thing by passing hate crime legislation that protects transgender people like Teish from violence and discrimination."

"We call upon the court to deliver justice for our beloved Teish." said Gary.

In the New York State hate crimes law transpeople were cut out of it (thank you Matt Foreman and New York GL incrementalists), the only reason this trial is being prosecuted as a hate crime is because DeLee's perception that Teish was gay opened the door for the hate crime statute to be applied.

GENDA, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, includes transpeople in hate crime protection laws. It passed the New York state assembly but is still languishing in the NY state senate.

Gov. Paterson has stated he would sign GENDA if it hits his desk.

The trial began with the jury selection phase. A panel of 8 women and 6 men was selected that included two POC, one man and one woman.

The first witness called later that afternoon by the DA was Teish's brother Mark Cannon, who was wounded in the same attack that killed his sister.

As the DA got various photos and items admitted into evidence, Mark gave emotional testimony about the events that unfolded outside that November 14, 2008 house party.

Judge Walsh then adjourned the trial for the day. It will resume tomorrow with Mark on the witness stand being questioned by DeLee's defense attorney.

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