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Chandra Levy juror asks to be excused over hate crime bias

October 19, 2010 - 12:30 PM
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Ingmar Guandique (Photo: Associated Press)

Jury selection in the Chandra Levy murder trial began yesterday, and The List has already compiled 14 excuses proffered by potential jurors who wish to avoid their civic duty in the case.  Excuses include: Watching too much television; going on a non-refundable trip to New Orleans soon; your wife having been mugged the previous night; already believing that Ingmar Guandique is guilty.

Yesterday, TBD Justice reporter Sarah Larimer caught another justification: Being gay. "As a gay person, I live in fear daily because of hate crime," one potential juror told the court. "It would be hard for me to pass judgment based on another person's act of violence."

Briefly: Guandique stands trial for killing 24-year-old D.C. intern Chandra Levy after attempting to sexually assault her. Guandique has alleged ties with Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, a Central American gang connected to a series of violent crimes, including the ritual rape of women. One FBI agent who investigates gang activity in the area describes the MS-13 M.O. as "kill, rape, and control." When two possible members of the gang were prosecuted for the rape of a 16-year-old Laurel high school student in 2006, the men denied the rape charges by denying any connection to MS-13.

What MS-13 isn't particularly known for is anti-gay hate crimes. Last year, suspects connected with MS-13 were charged with an anti-gay attempted murder in Wheaton, Md. But beyond a couple of other isolated incidents, the gang doesn't have much of a reputation for gay bashings.

Potential jurors have grasped at more tenuous excuses for avoiding duty in the Levy case (New Orleans?), but the idea that being gay makes a person unfit to serve as an impartial juror in a completely unrelated murder case is one justification I hadn't heard before. Of course, the real issue with this juror is not that he is gay, but that he's already decided he can't be fair. When asked if he'd already drawn some conclusion about Guandique's guilt or innocence, the juror replied, "um, guilty."

 

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  1. kza kza

    kay cee

    Oct 19, 2010 - 02:26:30 PM

    He probably just didn't want to be a part of jury duty. I'm going to use that excuse one day even though I'm straight.

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  2. kickdrumxheart kickdrumxheart

    Rose Wallace

    Oct 20, 2010 - 04:48:13 PM

    Okay, let's get something straight: The systematic rape, murder and control of women is absolutely a hate crime. Suggesting otherwise is insane and willfully complacent in the face of widespread violence against women. Just because Chandra Levy was heterosexual does not mean that the man who murdered her after attempting to rape her was not motivated by hate. So let's not go there, m'kay? Whether or not identifying as LGBT -- a group which ALSO experiences significant hate-motivated crimes -- makes one more susceptible to judging in favor of the victim or being more sensitive to hate crimes against any group in general... Well, I suppose that's interesting, but I really don't think anyone but the juror under discussion can answer that question.

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  3. TJ TJ

    TJ T

    Oct 19, 2010 - 01:53:48 PM

    Honestly, that is a really dumb reason.  Yes, the LGBT community is unfairly targeted for hate-based crimes, but this wasn't a hate-based crime.  It was just a crime.  A horrible crime, but a crime nonetheless.

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