Testimony: California Legislature Assembly Bill AB 2501
By Jordan Blair Woods
On September 27, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 2501, legislation that prohibits the use of “gay panic” and “transgender panic” defenses to reduce murder charges to manslaughter in criminal trials. The passage of this bill makes California the first state in the country to prohibit the use of gay and transgender panic defenses through legislation. AB 2501 ensures that defendants cannot use gay and transgender panic defenses in an attempt to lower a charge from murder to manslaughter or to escape conviction in California. Additionally, it ensures that such a defense cannot be used in cases of lesser charges, such as assault.