March 04, 2021
DA Mike Schmidt submits testimony in support of SB 704
PORTLAND, Ore. – Today, Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt submitted testimony in support of Oregon Senate Bill 704.
A copy of the full testimony can be obtained by clicking here.
Senate Bill 704 pertains to what is colloquially known as the “gay/trans panic defense.” In this defense, a person who commits the murder of a gay or transgender person subsequently attempts to excuse their criminal conduct on the basis that they did not know that their victim was gay or transgender and that they were so distraught upon learning this fact that they were unable to restrain themselves from committing murder.
“This theory has no basis in established psychology and has never been validated as a legitimate defense in Oregon. Blaming a victim for their murder is odious and has no place in Oregon law,” District Attorney Mike Schmidt said.
Senate Bill 704 clarifies that this defense cannot be made in a prosecution for murder in the second degree under Oregon law and is not a recognized form of “extreme emotional distress.” The bill further details that the discovery of or disclosure of a person’s perceived gender, gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation cannot be the basis for using force against a person.
DA Schmidt added: “While we applaud these efforts, we also wish to make clear as prosecutors that the invoking of a person’s gender, gender identity or sexual orientation is not a defense to any crime under any circumstance and we will treat any such instance as what it is: A hate crime.”
Brent Weisberg, Communications Director
Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office