(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced a partnership between the Mayor’s Office of GLBT Affairs and the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) that will enhance USAO’s ability to bring criminals to justice in cases where hate or bias might have been a factor in a crime committed against an individual from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
Mayor Gray made the announcement at a memorial service for Deoni Jones, a transgender woman who was stabbed to death on February 2, 2012, at a bus stop located on the corner of East Capitol and Sycamore Streets NE.
“While this partnership will not bring Deoni back, it will give the LGBT community more power to affect the sentences handed down to violent criminals, helping to keep them off our streets,” Mayor Gray said.
Through the partnership, the GLBT Affairs office will solicit Community Impact Statements from LGBT community members in cases where hate/bias enhancement provisions have been used in charging individuals with crimes in which part of the motivation was the victim’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
In addition, GLBT Affairs will, on a case-by-case basis and with consultation from the USAO, solicit Community Impact Statements in certain cases where the hate/bias enhancement on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression has not been used in charging the accused perpetrators. These statements will be used in the sentencing phase of a trial, after an assailant has been found guilty of a violent offense. The presiding judge will take these Community Impact Statements into account when determining the severity and length of a violent perpetuator’s sentence.