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Appeals Court Nixes "Gay Panic" Defense

Appeals Court Nixes "Gay Panic" Defense

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A Michigan state appeals court has upheld the conviction of a man who attempted a "gay panic" defense in a 2009 assault.

Dale Cutler was sentenced to a minimum 11-year prison sentence in the assault on Ryan Young, who was choked and beaten unconscious. Cutler had maintained that he punched Young "probably four or five [times]" after he said he awoke in bed to find Young's hand down his pants following a night of celebrating Young's birthday at a bar (Young testified that he never tried to touch the defendant).

But in a 2-1 decision released Thursday, the appeals court held that "even accepting [Cutler's] testimony that the victim sexually assaulted him and punched him once in the head, [Cutler] cannot assert self-defense because he used excessive force to repel the attack he claims was mounted by the victim."

"Given defendant's fight training and the size difference between him and the victim, this far exceeded the force necessary for defendant to defend himself," the court ruled. "Thus, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying defendant's request for self-defense instruction because the evidence did not support it."

Read Todd Heywood's report of the appeals court ruling at The Michigan Messengerhere.

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Appeals Court Nixes "Gay Panic" Defense

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