From Queer Channel Media:
A transgender woman says she disagrees with a decision by the United States Attorney’s office to lower the charge against a man arrested for shooting her in the neck on Sept. 12 while she sat in her car parked in Southeast Washington.
District resident Darryl Willard, 20, pleaded guilty on Thursday in D.C. Superior Court to a charge of aggravated assault while armed in connection with the shooting. His plea came after prosecutors agreed to drop a more serious charge of assault with intent to kill while armed.
“I told them I was willing to go to a trial and testify” if prosecutors went with the more serious charge, said the victim, who spoke on condition that her name was withheld.
She said prosecutors informed her of their decision to lower the charge in exchange for Willard’s guilty plea last week shortly after she was released from the hospital and after the decision was reached.
“They said that going to trial with a jury could be a problem because they [the defense] would bring up my lifestyle,” the woman said.
Now, this case is – as far as I’m aware – not one where the hate crime law-that-those-who-claim-to-speak-for-us-because-they-have-appropriated-for-themselves-the-right-to-speak-for-us-even-though-they-don’t-speak-for-us-claimed-in-2009-we needed-more-than-substantive-anti-discrimination-protections was applicable, but…
Local transgender activists Earline Budd and Jeri Hughes said they, too, disagree with the lowering of the charge. Both said they were troubled that the U.S. Attorney’s office apparently didn’t consult the victim in advance of its plea bargain decision and appears to have presented her with a fait accompli on the matter.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office has said the office never comments on why it chooses to offer plea bargain agreements that lower charges in specific cases.
In discussing its general policy on plea bargain decisions, the U.S. Attorney’s office in the past has said it considers factors such as whether a jury would be likely to convict someone on a more serious charge.
…this nevertheless begs the question: If they’re too afraid to go to a jury with a trans victim, what exactly is the point of having a hate crime law that covers anti-trans hate crimes?
“How about if a U.S. Attorney gets shot in the neck?” said Hughes. “Let’s see if someone gets just five years for that.”
I have a better idea: How about making a concerted effort to hire a bunch of transsexual AUSAs to get that twain to meet?