gaveldecision.jpg2:55 PM: San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said today he is disappointed in a judge’s decision to dismiss felony hate crime allegations against two men accused of assaulting and robbing a transgender woman near San Francisco’s 16th Street BART station in April.

Lionel Jackson, 32, and Maurice Perry, 37, are accused of attacking the woman on April 1 outside the BART station at Mission and 16th streets.

At a preliminary hearing that ended Wednesday, Judge Bruce Chan ordered Jackson and Perry to stand trial on charges of assault, second-degree robbery and violating the victim’s civil rights, but dismissed felony hate crime allegations against the pair.

Gascon, speaking at a news conference today at the San Francisco Hall of Justice, said he is disappointed in the judge’s dismissal “despite a strong set of facts” about “an attack we believe was motivated by hate.”

Prosecutors said Jackson and Perry allegedly took the woman’s smartphone, and when she demanded it back, the pair allegedly punched her, knocking her to the ground and yelling epithets at her.

Alexandra Byerly, who was passing out condoms nearby as part of an HIV prevention campaign, testified at the preliminary hearing Monday that as the suspects were running away, one of them said, “Oh, I hate men dressed up as women.”

The two men were arrested shortly after attack, which left the woman hospitalized.
Gascon and Victor Hwang, the prosecutor in the case, said the district attorney’s office plans to re-file the hate crime charge when the case goes to trial.

Hwang said he disagrees with the judge’s decision on the hate crime allegations, especially since the judge ordered the pair to stand trial on the civil rights violation, and the two charges “share the identical elements as to a biased motive.”

Chan had ruled that the primary motive for the attack was financial because it had started as a robbery, Hwang said.

The felony hate crime allegation can add up to three years in state prison to a sentence, while the misdemeanor civil rights violation can only add up to a year in county jail, Hwang said.

Clair Farley of the San Francisco LGBT Community Center said, “This ruling is troubling because it makes all of us feel as though we will not have the same protections and safeties we need if violence happens to us.”

Gascon said, “If we’re serious about being a community of tolerance and a community of equality for all, then we need to start treating all of our citizens with equality, and we believe that this case highlights the lack of sensitivity and the lack of understanding that we have in these areas.”

11:14 AM: Felony hate crime allegations were dismissed Wednesday against two men accused of assaulting and robbing a transgender woman near San Francisco’s 16th Street BART station in April, but the pair were ordered by a judge to stand trial on other charges in the case.

Lionel Jackson, 32, and Maurice Perry, 37, are accused of attacking the woman on April 1 outside the BART station at the intersection of Mission and 16th streets and taking her smartphone.

When she demanded the phone back, the pair allegedly punched her, knocking her to the ground, where they also allegedly kicked her, police said.

Alexandra Byerly, who was passing out condoms nearby as part of an HIV prevention campaign, testified on Monday in the preliminary hearing that as the suspects were fleeing the attack, one of them said, “Oh, I hate men dressed up as women.”

The two men were arrested shortly after the theft.

When the preliminary hearing ended late Wednesday afternoon, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Bruce Chan ordered Jackson and Perry to stand trial on charges of assault, second-degree robbery and violating the victim’s civil rights, but dismissed felony hate crime allegations against the pair, district attorney’s office spokesman Seth Steward said.

District Attorney George Gascon has scheduled an 11:30 a.m. news conference today to discuss the judge’s decision to dismiss the hate crime allegations and has invited several city officials and local LGBT community groups to join him, Steward said.

The news conference will take place at the district attorney’s office in the San Francisco Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St.

Jackson and Perry will return to court on July 7 for formal arraignment on the other charges.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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  • Andrea L. Harrington

    It is obvious that the judge is an accomplice in the fact that he is rewarding the criminals for their behavior by slapping them on the wrist and treating the situation lightly. Thus sending a message to all that prey on Trans Identified woman that its just a tranny, so why all the fuss. I tell you why all the fuss, as a Trans woman who pays the same amount of taxes as heterosexual woman, I deserve the same exact comforts of safety. I am sure if it were the mother or sister of the judge we would be seeing a different verdict, and he threw salt in our wounds by basically rewording the charges so that the out come of these blatant criminals would be less harsh for them. We hear you loud and clear Judge Chan , you could care less that this Trans woman was put in the hospital by two men that was witnessed doing these things to her and we see just how far you will go to show us your dislike of not the criminal who is in the wrong , but the Trans woman who does not fit into your perfect world of Heterosexualism. And they say that America is the home of the free and the land of the brave. Yeah , right

  • Andrea L. Harrington

    It is obvious that the judge is an accomplice in the fact that he is rewarding the criminals for their behavior by slapping them on the wrist and treating the situation lightly. Thus sending a message to all that prey on Trans Identified woman that its just a tranny, so why all the fuss. I tell you why all the fuss, as a Trans woman who pays the same amount of taxes as heterosexual woman, I deserve the same exact comforts of safety. I am sure if it were the mother or sister of the judge we would be seeing a different verdict, and he threw salt in our wounds by basically rewording the charges so that the out come of these blatant criminals would be less harsh for them. We hear you loud and clear Judge Chan , you could care less that this Trans woman was put in the hospital by two men that was witnessed doing these things to her and we see just how far you will go to show us your dislike of not the criminal who is in the wrong , but the Trans woman who does not fit into your perfect world of Heterosexualism. And they say that America is the home of the free and the land of the brave. Yeah , right