The trial for trans woman CeCe McDonald officially began today at 9am in Minneapolis. We will be doing our best to follow the case closely and post updates here on PrettyQueer. If you have additional items to report, email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet us @prettyqueer.
The judge is expected to rule on two outstanding motions today, first on whether the defense can use the fact that Dean Schmitz, the deceased, had a swastika tattoo on his chest. The second motion that is still pending is the defense motion to have an expert witness on transgender issues speak to the “climate of violence perpetrated on the trans community and to educate jurors on trans issues.”
According to reports by the local support team, a number of whom attended the pretrial hearing on Friday, a number of items were decided. The full text is below, but we’ve extracted and color-coded the items of note here as well. Items colored green were beneficial to the defense, regardless of who entered the motion. Red items show that they were decided in a manner that would be unhelpful to the defense.
|Against individuals wearing supportive t-shirts, buttons or other items in the courtroom||Prosecution||GRANTED|
|To admit into evidence Dean Schmitz’s swastika tattoo||Defense||PENDING|
|To admit into evidence Dean Schmitz’s prior convictions for domestic assault||Defense||DENIED|
|To admit criminal records (theft) of witnesses who will be testifying against CeCe||Defense||DENIED|
|To admit criminal records of witness against CeCe who provided false information and a false name to police||Defense||GRANTED|
|To admit into evidence CeCe’s conviction regarding a bad check to show dishonesty||Prosecution||GRANTED|
|Expert witness to discuss toxicology reports that show the deceased had cocaine, methamphetamine and alcohol in his systems||Defense||GRANTED|
|Expert witness on transgender issues to show climate of violence against trans people||Defense||PENDING|
Full text of update from support team:
On Friday, April 27th, CeCe McDonald appeared in court for her final pre-trial hearing. Both the defense and the prosecution argued motions on which evidence could be admitted or not, whether or not to allow expert witnesses, and whether or not supporters can wear Free CeCe gear in court.
The prosecution motioned to prevent people in the courtroom from wearing any t-shirts, buttons or anything that shows support for CeCe in any way. The motion was granted. (This means that we cannot wear support wear during CeCe’s trial.)
The defense motioned to admit evidence that the deceased, Dean Schmitz, had a swastika tattoo on his chest and prior convictions for domestic assault. The prior convictions cannot be brought up in court and the judge will rule on the swastika tattoo by Monday morning.
The defense motioned to admit the criminal theft record of witnesses against CeCe. These motions were denied. Another motion to admit the convictions of one witness against CeCe for providing false information to the police and using a false name was granted. Notably, however, the prosecution motioned to admit into evidence that CeCe was convicted of writing a bad check to speak to her dishonesty as a witness. This motion was granted.
The defense motioned for the inclusion of an expert witness to speak to the deceased’s toxicology report to explain the potential effects of chemicals such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and alcohol in his system. The judge will allow the expert to testify about these chemicals and their effects in general.
The defense motioned for the inclusion of an expert witness on transgender issues to speak to the climate of violence perpetrated on the trans community and to educate jurors on trans issues. A full decision on this motion will happen on Monday, April 30th. These rulings are helping determine how CeCe’s trial will play out, so keep your eye on these announcements for the latest updates. Trial proceedings are still scheduled to begin on Monday, April 30th at 9am, although things won’t really be underway until Tuesday. So plan to start coming to court Tuesday, May 1st at 9am wearing purple in solidarity with CeCe!
Leslie Feinberg is in attendance, as are dozens of other supporters. From Leslie’s twitter feed: