Gwen Araujo Justice for Victims Act Becomes Law! – By Chris Daley

Nation?s first law addressing use of panic strategies signed by California Governor

San Francisco, CA ? The nation?s first bill to address use of panic strategies, the Gwen Araujo Justice for Victims Act (AB 1160), was signed into law today by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Authored by Assemblywoman Sally Lieber and Sponsored by Equality California, the bill puts California firmly on record as opposing a defendant?s use of societal bias against their victim in order to decrease their own culpability for a crime.

“This is a victory for fairness in our criminal justice system and a tribute to the courage of Gwen Araujo,? said Assemblywoman Lieber of her bill that also modifies an existing jury instruction and mandates the creation of practice materials for District Attorney?s offices. ?Too many Californians live with the very real fear that they will be victimized simply because of who they are. Making sure that our court system treats every one fairly, regardless of individual differences, is essential.?