CeCe McDonald pleads guilty to lesser charge

Categories: Crime, GLBT

CeCe1.jpg
CeCe McDonald.
Chrishaun "CeCe" McDonald, a transgender woman facing two second-degree murder charges, agreed to a plea deal in court today.

McDonald pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter, which will carry a 41-month sentence.

McDonald was accused of stabbing Dean Alvin Schmitz in the heart outside the Schooner Tavern in south Minneapolis last summer. Her attorneys said she was the victim of an attack started by Schmitz and his friends.

Advocates for McDonald held a rally outside the Hennepin County Government Center after the plea. Many dressed in purple, they touted the outcome as a small victory.

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Advocates for CeCe McDonald held a rally after the plea today.
"This felony count was not what the state was trying to convict CeCe of," said Jude Ortiz, a member of McDonald's support committee.

Katie Burgess, president of the Trans Youth Support Network, criticized the legal system, arguing the odds are stacked against transgender people.

"We fought for her acquittal in a system designed to seek convictions, regardless of the truth."

McDonald's official sentencing will take place June 4.


Update [2:10 p.m.]:

Reached by phone, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman called the plea "an appropriate result for a tragic incident."

"What makes it tragic is one man is dead, and another person will spend 41 months in prison," says Freeman.

Freeman denied allegations from McDonald's supporters that race or gender identity played into his office's decision to pursue the charges.

"There were people in this case who felt that we ought to view this case in light of other societal mistakes, including homophobia, racism, etc. What I have always tried to do is to concentrate solely on the facts of each individual case. To give either special pereference or lack of preference to any particular group...means that lady justice all the sudden is blind, and she can't be."

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Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

I just LOVE how the LGBT community came out in support of a now admitted murder.Looking good!  This is like a perfect lesson in, "living with bias 101".  Or "when your bias perpetuates your stupidity 101".

Now for the BIG question at hand; which prison do you send it, the mens or the womens prison?

Maureen L
Maureen L

"It" is a human being. YIKES... You're about 6 decades behind.

ps. out of the two lessons above, you're both.

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

So which prison would this human go to?Would it be the men's or the women's prison?

Nice side step of a relevant question...

sighentist
sighentist

The women's prison, if those responsible in corrections are decent human beings with a basic understaning of gender theory.Since most correctional institutions are several decades behind in policy and procedure, judging by precedent she will sadly probably be sent to the male prison, where she'll face the inevitable abuse and sexual assault that comes with being trans, or she'll be held in solitary confinement for "her own protection" and to her detriment.

HurdyGurdy
HurdyGurdy

"when your bias perpetuates your stupidity"

Who are you talking about again?

zerofor
zerofor

 It's always nice to know that Kirk is sufficiently ignorant to not know the difference between murder and manslaughter.

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

Are you saying ignorant people give you pleasure?

That is a bizarre and rather creepy fetish you have...

HurdyGurdy
HurdyGurdy

Both sides have made it very difficult to analyze the actual events of this case. While I don't doubt that most media coverage has been unfavorable to McDonald, it's hard to see a plea deal of three and a half years as a sign of her total innocence. Why agree to those prison terms and avoid a juried trial if you truly believe you've done nothing wrong? I know it's expensive, and that our system is flawed, but her supporters seem to believe in her absolute innocence. Katie Burgess said they have the truth on their side, and that seems like something worth fighting for.

I was invited to a benefit for McDonald several months ago, but was too uncertain about the case to attend. The best I could sort out was: She and some friends got harassed as they walked by a patio bar, stopped to confront the offending men (or at least argued in some form), got into a fight, and somehow ended up stabbing a man in the chest. While her anger is understandable, retaliation is not the same as innocence. In some way, McDonald chose to participate, and she killed a person.

It's incredibly murky, which is why I was looking forward to the trial and hearing from witnesses. Many of her supporters though, with the same unclear understanding (or with only her version of events), seemed to latch on to this case as a symbol of institutional injustice against transgender people. That injustice certainly exists in many forms (employment, marriage,etc.), but this particular event wasn't institutional. It was about people arguing and fighting, and someone being killed, possibly in self-defense. The fact that many claimed her unwavering innocence despite all doubts is, frankly, disturbing.

I read a comment on an earlier story that compared this to the fervor over the Trayvon Martin case. Although the commenter was a bigot, and not interested in the truth of the case, I think the point, that we allow our ideologies to cloud our view of the facts of a legal case, is valid. I know I reacted particularly strongly to the Martin case, allowing heresay, rumors, and flat-out lies to convince me that the underlying factor was racism, when in reality the issues were gun control and self-defense laws.

I don't know if McDonald (or Zimmerman for that matter) are innocent or guilty, because I don't know the facts. And neither do the supporters and critics on both sides, but that doesn't stop them from claiming the "truth". We've taken the trials-by-media way too far. Our legal system isn't perfect, but it's designed to measure facts, and I'll take it any day over the manic bleating of special-interest groups.

Just a citizen
Just a citizen

CeCe likely agreed to the plea because the jury trial was stacked against her. The fact the the man she killed in self-defense was convicted three times of domestic violence was never going to be heard by the jury ("not applicable to his character"). And her conviction on writing a bad check was heard ("applicable to her character"). It's not a great deal, but probably better than what a jury would have done.

Decievious Leroy Johnston Jr.
Decievious Leroy Johnston Jr.

I think it was a fair sentence.  I agree with you that a jury trial would have given her a harsher punishment.  However, because none of us were witnesses to this incident, you cannot state that this was in fact, self defense.  Just like in the Zimmerman case.

If this in fact, was due to homophobia or transphobia, which we will never know, I have a little tip for TV/TS people: The last fucking place you should go to have a few drinks is some bar off of Lake St, especially a place like Schooners.  No, you probably won't be welcomed there, especially if you are obvious.  I'm not saying that it is right, but there will probably be a good chance that someone will talk shit to you and even worse, start shit.  Just go to the Gay 90's.  If you are looking for a guy who is into TV/TS, they probably won't be hanging out at Schooners.  Just Saying.    

sighentist
sighentist

what about this sounds "fair" to you?

Around 12:30 am, CeCe was walking to the grocery store with some friends, all of them young, African American, and either queer or allied. As they passed a local bar, the Schooner Tavern, a group of older, white people who were standing outside the bar’s side door began hurling racist and transphobic slurs at them, without provocation.  They called CeCe and her friends ‘faggots,’ ‘niggers,’ and ‘chicks with dicks,’ and suggested that CeCe was ‘dressed as a woman’ in order to ‘rape’ Dean Schmitz, one of the attackers. When CeCe approached the group and told them that her crew would not tolerate hate speech, one of the women said, “I’ll take you bitches on,” and then smashed her glass into CeCe’s face. She punctured CeCe’s cheek all the way through, lacerating her salivary gland. A fight ensued, during which one of the attackers, Dean Schmitz, was fatally stabbed. CeCe and her supporters maintain that she acted in self defense.

Predictably, one person was arrested. Institutional cissexism and racism fails to recognise the very real danger the CeCe was in simply for being trans, black and queer.

Despite acting in self defense CeCe was arrested, interrogated without a lawyer present, held in solitary confinement, and charged with murder, despite acting in self-defense.

I refer you to http://www.bilerico.com/2011/0... and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T...to remind you of the possible outcome of NOT defending oneself from a group of attackers. She was carrying a pair of scissors, not a goddamned knife. And even if she had, it still would've been self defense.

Mski21
Mski21

They weren't going to Schooners, they were walking past on their way to the grocery store.

Jeremy Joseph Light
Jeremy Joseph Light

It's hard for me to shed a tear for a f*cking convicted murderer. If was my choice, I'm throw away the key without thinking about it. Sometimes, I think that Minneapolis has become too liberal.

dannymomo
dannymomo

She was convicted of manslaughter, not murder. 

Guest
Guest

Then I hope you aren't a Zimmerman supporter.

Paul
Paul

Dude, don't you have a gun for self defense? She was carrying a pair of scissors. Big deal. I'm sure you would have done the same thing if you were attacked. 

Kevin Hansen
Kevin Hansen

First link is broken, you forgot the underscores.

Andy Mannix
Andy Mannix

Hey Kevin--  Thanks for the heads up. The link is fixed now.

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