NY Court of Appeals reviews conviction for murdered trans woman

Today, advocates are joining the family of Lateisha Green, a transgender woman of color who was murdered in Syracuse in 2008, at the New York Court of Appeals in Albany for a hearing on whether to reinstate the hate crime conviction against her alleged killer, Dwight DeLee. Roxanne Green, mother of Lateisha, and advocates spoke at a press conference before the hearing where they discussed the impact of Lateisha's murder followed by the release of the man convicted of the crime. The hearing was scheduled for 2:00 p.m. today.

In July 2009, a jury found DeLee guilty of manslaughter in the first degree as a hate crime after evidence in the trial demonstrated that DeLee targeted Lateisha Green because of anti-LGBT bias. At the time, GLAAD and several advocacy organizations worked together to bring attention to the case.

DeLee's conviction was set aside by the New York State Fourth Appellate Division in July 2013 because of what the court viewed as an "inconsistent" verdict. In October of that year, the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, Lambda Legal, Empire State Pride Agenda, the NYU School of Law, and several other organizations filed an amicus brief urging the New York Court of Appeals to reverse the Fourth Department's ruling and reinstate DeLee's conviction. The Court of Appeals announced in December 2013 that it would reconsider the previous ruling.

"Since 2008 when my daughter's life was taken, more than ninety transgender people have been murdered in the United States," wrote Roxanne Green in a statement. "Each time this happens, a family and community has to live through the anguish that I have had to live through... By reinstating the conviction, the New York State Appeals Court can send a message that Lateisha’s life matters, and that the lives of all transgender women matter."

GLAAD has been working with advocates and the family of Lateisha Green to bring attention to today's hearing and its implications for how the legal system devalues the lives of transgender women of color.