Court to Hear appeal in Lateisha Green's murder case

The New York state Court of Appeals will consider restoring the hate crimes conviction in the Lateisha Green murder case. Green, an African-American transgender woman, was at a party on November 14th 2008, in Syracuse New York, when she was shot at point range by Dwight DeLee because he perceived her as gay. DeLee was convicted of first-degree manslaughter as a hate crime and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

However, in an egregious miscarriage of justice, the conviction was set aside due to a technicality and DeLee was set free this past July. The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund and several other LGBT and civil rights organizations, including Lambda Legal, the Empire State Pride Agenda, the Anti-Defamation League and The New York City Anti-Violence Project, filed an amicus brief with the New York Court of Appeals, respectfully urging them to reverse the 4th Appellate Division’s ruling and reinstate Dwight DeLee’s conviction.

The brief read in part:

 “Vacating that conviction would be a grave miscarriage of justice that would subvert the jury’s plain intent,” and “Allowing the person who shot Lateisha Green to walk free would frustrate the purpose of New York’s Hate Crimes Law, working in exact opposition to the Legislature’s two stated goals of enhancing punishment and deterring future hate crimes. And it would dishonor Ms. Green’s memory but also cause her family unfathomable grief by revoking the solace they had in knowing that her killer had been brought to justice.”

In response to the news, Roxanne Green, Lateisha’s mother says, “I was outraged that our daughter’s killer was released from prison on a technicality. Now I feel some relief that New York’s highest court will review this case. I want justice for Teish.”

According to National Coalition of Anti-Violence Projects, 73% of all LGBT hate crimes victims were people of color and 50% of all LGBT homicide victims identified as transgender women.