HB0488/SB0554: Crimes- Mitigation- Sex, Gender Identity , or Sexual Orientation

Bill Title: Crimes- Mitigation- Sex, Gender Identity , or Sexual Orientation

Bill Number(s): HB0488 and SB0554

Bill Sponsor(s): Senator Clarence Lam (D-12, Baltimore and Howard County) and Delegate Julie Palakovich Carr (D-17, Montgomery County)

Position: Support

Legislative History: Voted Out of Judicial Proceedings Committee in Senate; Third Reader in House of Delegates

What would this bill do?

There is significant legal precedence for eliminating the gay and trans panic defense. The gay and trans panic defenses re-victimize LGBTQ individuals by placing responsibility for their deaths on their sexual and gender identity.

This bill would first require the courts to provide jury instructions advising juries to make their decisions without improper bias or prejudice based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Second, it would specify that neither non-violent sexual advances nor the discovery of a person’s sexual orientation or gender are legitimate provocations for murder. Finally, it will provide proactive education to courts, prosecutors, defense counsel, and the public about the gay and trans panic defenses and the secondary harm it has on the LGBTQ community.

Why is this bill needed?

A panic defense is a legal strategy used in criminal court to defend violence against transgender and queer individuals. The panic defense is often used to prove the defendant was provoked into violence, their mental state was diminished, or that they were defending themselves from a threat. The gay and trans panic defense claims that the discovery of the victim’s identity as LGBTQ was so shocking that the perpetrator could not control their rage or fear and thus acted violently.

This practice allows perpetrators to receive lesser sentences by placing blame on the victim’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Due to this blatant injustice, the gay and trans panic defense has been eliminated in four states and is under review in five states and at the federal level. The potential for the gay and trans panic defenses to be used in Maryland with the full blessing of the law is a blatant miscarriage of justice and a clear message to LGBTQ residents that their suffering and lives are not equal to those of other victims of violence.

 

In 2018, 1445 of the 8819 were victims of hate crimes because of their LGBTQ status. 189 out of the 8819 were victims of hate crimes based on their gender identity.
– 2018 FBI Hate Crime Statistics

House of Delegates Judiciary Committee // HB 0488

Member Email Address Phone Number
Luke H. Clippinger (Chair) luke.clippinger@house.state.md.us 410-841-3488 | 301-858-3488
Vanessa E. Atterbeary (Vice Chair) vanessa.atterbeary@house.state.md.us 410-841-3471 | 301-858-3471
Curtis S. (Curt) Anderson curt.anderson@house.state.md.us 410-323-4324
Lauren R. Arikan lauren.arikan@house.state.md.us 410-841-3334 | 301-858-3334
J. Sandy Bartlett sandy.bartlett@house.state.md.us 410-841-3370 | 301-858-3370
Jon S. Cardin jon.cardin@house.state.md.us 410-841-3054 | 301-858-3054
Frank M. Conaway, Jr. frank.conaway@house.state.md.us 410-841-3189
Daniel L. Cox dan.cox@house.state.md.us 410-841-3288 | 301-858-3288
Charlotte Crutchfield charlotte.crutchfield@house.state.md.us 410-841-3485 | 301-858-3485
Debra M. Davis debra.davis@house.state.md.us 410-841-3337 | 301-858-3337
Wanika B. Fisher wanika.fisher@house.state.md.us 410-841-3340 | 301-858-3340
Robin L. Grammer, Jr. Robin.Grammer@house.state.md.us 410-841-3298 | 301-858-3298
Mike, Griffith mike.griffith@house.state.md.us 410-841-3444 | 301-858-3444
Jazz M. Lewis jazz.lewis@house.state.md.us 410-841-3691 | 301-858-3691
Lesley J. Lopez lesley.lopez@house.state.md.us 410-841-3021 | 301-858-3021
Michael E. Malone michael.malone@house.state.md.us 410-841-3510 | 301-858-3510
Susan K. McComas susan.mccomas@house.state.md.us 410-836-9449
David Moon david.moon@house.state.md.us 410-841-3474 | 301-858-3474
Jesse T. Pippy jesse.pippy@house.state.md.us 410-841-3118 | 301-858-3118
Emily K. Shetty emily.shetty@house.state.md.us 410-841-3181 | 301-858-3181
Ronald L. Watson ron.watson@house.state.md.us 410-841-3448 | 301-858-3448
Nicole A. Williams nicole.williams@house.state.md.us 410-841-3058 | 301-858-3058