Constitutional Analysis of AB 1160: Validity of Due Process Challenges to Legislation Eliminating Gay and Trans Panic Defenses in California

By R. Bradley Sears and Elizabeth Kukura
February, 2005

I. Question Presented
Would a statute that defined sufficient provocation for “sudden quarrel” or “heat of passion” to exclude gay and trans panic defenses violate defendants’ due process rights?

II. Short Answer

No. In determining whether such a statute violated a defendants’ due process rights, a court would follow the U.S. Supreme Court’s reasoning in Montana v. Egelhoff, 518 U.S. 37 (1996), which upheld a Montana statute prohibiting consideration of a defendant’s voluntary intoxication in determining the mens rea element of any criminal offense.

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