VICTORY IN THE GREEN CASE!!!!!
The New York State Court of Appeals, after hearing oral arguments in the case on October 15th, has finally issued its written opinion overturning (in part) the lower courts ruling which had dismissed the manslaughter as a hate crime conviction of convicted killer Dwight DeLee. The high court decided that rather than dismissing the conviction, DeLee could be re-charged with manslaughter as a hate crime and be re-tried in Onondaga County. Should he be convicted again as is highly likely, he will finally be put back in jail to serve the long sentence he so richly deserves (20 years).
Our group organized a rally on the steps of the court house in Albany last month and, with the assistance of the Pride Agenda and GLAAD, we were able to make sure that the court room was filled with members of the Green family and their supporters. Groups from Rochester, Long Island and Albany assisted all the Syracuse folks in witnessing the case and being sure that the justices were aware that their decision would not escape the notice of the LGBT community.
We can't know for sure what effect our presence had on the court's decision but we do know that it is an extraordinary decision which completely changed the law as it is applied to similar cases. I have to believe that the outrage our community showed over the injustice inflicted on the Green family and the court's decision to reverse long standing precedent are not a coincidence.
This case shows that if trans people are willing to be out front, to organize themselves and to fight back, that they can make a difference in their own lives and in the lives of their brothers and sisters.
Green Case Update - May 2014:
New York State’s highest court has agreed to look at an appeal of a lower court ruling that freed a Syracuse man convicted of the state’s first hate crime. The briefs have been filed and we are currently awaiting scheduling of oral argument before the New York State Court of Appeals.
Meanwhile, Dwight DeLee, the man who murdered Lateisha Green was recently arrested and charged with domestic violence. The one charge not dismissed in the Green case was a fire arms charge against DeLee. When his successful appeal led to his release, he was put on probation for the still standing fire arms conviction. Potentially, the domestic violence charge could have been found to be a probation violation resulting in DeLee going back to jail.
However, at the hearing conducted on the probation violation, DeLee was unable to produce a witness, his girlfriend, to testify on his behalf because the court officers could no find her anywhere in the courthouse though she had been seen waiting in the lobby. She claims to have stepped out for a cigarette momentarily. Judge Brunetti found that the officers violated DeLee's constitutional rights in failing to find the missing witness and accordingly, he dismissed the probation violation charge insuring that DeLee remains a free man while we wait for the appeal of the Green case to finally be decided by the Court of Appeals.
Links to News Items:
TGA PRIDE TOUR 2014
CNY Pride - June 21, 2014:
TGA Pride Tour 2014 kicked off this past Sunday with our first Pride march of the season in sunny, sunny Buffalo!
We made it to Buffalo with the float intact though we almost lost the re-engineered church pew now known as the “Bench of Broken Dreams”, when we hit a bumpy patch on the thruway somewhere between Rochester and Batavia. The bench, before painting, looked a little like this:
We had dreams of giving the pew new life as a joyous piece of “float furniture” we hoped would look something like this:
.... or this:
But what we ended up with was this:
A bench with a bad case of “psychedelic measles”
Apart from the pew problem, we made it to Buffalo safe and sound and after some not so hilarious GPS directed errors, we eventually found the staging area at the museum on Elmwood Avenue about 30 minutes behind schedule. Waiting for us at the staging area was a very relieved squadron of trans-folk from Spectrum led by Michelle Wolf. They brought a ton of decorations and banners and whatnot and were beginning to wonder if they were going to have anything to decorate.
A lot of our prep time was spent following directions from officials trying to sort out who was supposed to be where. Not every driver there was as professionally competent at backing up a truck with an attached trailer as was our fearless truckers, Brooke B. and the irrepressible TJ.
With all the help we had from the Spectrum pit crew and some Rochester folks along with our contingent from the ‘Cuse, we were able to finish the float prep with time to spare. There were only two snags. The majority of the Rochester crew from GVGV and T*AGR were reported missing in action, lost somewhere between Rochester and Elmwood Avenue.
Equally distressing was the failure of anyone to bring bubble juice so that we could fire up the Bubbletron 5000, the latest in bubble making machinery, this unit included a cutting edge remote control system, turbo-fans, leather seats and 6 cup-holders. Our fans were much disappointed. It turns out that those charged with guarding the Bubbletron 5000 at a secure facility somewhere in the Finger Lakes region decided to take her out for a trial run and in so doing, exhausted our initial bubble juice supply. The Spectrum folks brought just about everything imaginable that could be used to decorate a float but they were fresh out of bubble juice. The Bubbletron will not make its debut until CNY Pride later this month.
We managed to push on without the bubbles and about a third of the way down Elmwood Avenue, we located the lost Rochestarians, none the worse for the wear and tear. In a scene right out of the Grapes of Wrath, we helped our sister hobos hop onto the float freight train style.
Leslie Larrabee, my good friend and grandmother to the entire trans community in Syracuse, attended her first pride parade. With cane in hand and her pacemaker fully charged, she made the trip with us all the way to Buffalo, endured a long day in the sun waving to her legions of fans along the parade route and then braved the Buffalo Metro system to get to the canal side party where she survived the throngs and rampaging fabulousness. It was a bit touch and go when her fans rushed the float and nearly high-fived her to death.
fell off the float, L-R Pam, Anita, Rob, Dylan and Brooke
It was a beautiful day for a parade and I can’t think of a better group of people to enjoy it with than our friends in Rochester and Buffalo. When we work together, there is NOTHING we can’t do, except perhaps to remember the bubble juice….
For those of you who missed it, don’t worry, there are pride marches in Rochester, Erie and Syracuse (and maybe Oswego) in addition to the Peurto Rican Parade and a Rally in Nassau County being staged by our friends in the Long Island Transgender Advocacy Coalition. It's not too late to go to a pride march, festival, parade or rally and hang out with your TG friends and allies from one end of I-90 to the other.
In case you need more convincing:
Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Go To A Pride March:
10. You will see great hair cuts like this:
9. You will meet this guy:
8. People will rush towards you like you are a Beatle and its 1964:
7. You will meet a girl like this during the parade and then meet her again on a metro train where she will be very drunk and very friendly as she asks to see your post operative chest and questions you as to what your genitalia looks like, and like my fiancé Rob, you will answer her because … educate, educate, educate!
6. You will meet this person and in the process, learn the true meaning of “freedom”.
5. You will learn that you are part of a community that is best described by the words: “endlessly cool”.
4. You may get asked out by these guys:
3. You might see Dylan and Ashh arguing over whose turn it is to wear the rainbow mohawk wig.
2. You will learn that top ten lists are too long and that any decent list would stop at 2 because riding in this baby and celebrating who we are would be a way better use of your time:
SEE YOU IN SYRACUSE ON JUNE 21ST!!
For those attending a TGA-CNY social in Syracuse, this is your destination:
The Transgender Alliance, the home of the Upstate New York Transgender Community, is a one-stop-shop social networking site for all transgender persons and groups located in and around Upstate New York and beyond. Here you can find and join any of the participating transgender social and support groups located in upstate New York and its environs that are listed below. Even if you are not from this area you are welcome to join us. Simply sign up for your free membership in the Transgender Alliance and you will have access to all the tools you need to find and stay in contact with all of your friends across the state and to keep on top of all the many meetings, socials and events staged by 13 different TG groups. If you would like your group to become part of the Alliance, just send your request to ThePhntm (site admin).
|Albany||The Northeast Gender Alliance and theSchenectady Gender Alternative (TNGA/SGA)|
The Buffalo Belles
Transcouples of Western New York
|Syracuse||Transgender Alliance of Central New York (TGCNY)|
|Binghamton||Southern Tier Gender Alliance|
Our mission is simple, to end the social isolation which plagues so many people blessed with the gift of being transgender; to build connections between our fragmented groups and organizations so that we can find strength through unity and to share our love, abilities, talents and resources for the good of all.
Look around this site, we are none of us alone.
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