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California

Prosecution deferred for transgender student facing battery charge

Thursday, February 6, 2014

HERCULES, Calif. — A transgender teenager facing a misdemeanor battery charge after defending herself from school bullies was in court Thursday and entered into an agreement that allows her to participate in a restorative justice program, which would defer prosecution on the battery charge.

Jewlyes Gutierrez

Jewlyes Gutierrez

Judge Thomas M. Maddock ordered Jewlyes Gutierrez, a 16-year-old sophomore at Hercules High School, to report back to his courtroom in May to check on her progress in the program, which offers alternatives to the traditional juvenile and criminal justice systems, such as counseling, mediation and conflict resolution.

Jewlyes was charged on Nov. 25 for participating in a school fight that was captured on camera. Jewlyes said the girls in the incident had taunted, harassed and bullied her about her gender identity prior to the Nov. 13 incident.

Jewlyes and the other three students involved in the fight were suspended and later apologized to each other, and since the incident, there has been no further harassment. But prosecutors later charged Jewlyes after she was punished by the school district.

Hercules police said Jewlyes started the fight by throwing the first punch, but Jewlyes claimed she was acting in self defense. No charges were ever filed against the other three girls.

“I am relieved to know that Jewlyes will now have the chance to find peace and safety outside of the criminal justice system,” said Masen Davis, Executive Director of the San Francisco-based Transgender Law Center. The center assisted Jewlyes and her family in facilitating the agreement.

“Youth belong in schools not jails. All students, including transgender students, should be able to go to school feeling safe and supported,” said Davis.

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16 more reader comments:

  1. Blame the victim. American justice.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 3:51am
  2. She’s still being criminalized by being punished..

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 3:52am
  3. I think Gillian was being facetious … not vicious

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 3:54am
  4. They are really strict about this stuff, but on misdemeanor charges like this, and at her age, the record is usually wiped clean. The judge seems reasonable. They usually give community service hours, etc., when the case is minor and not worth ruining someone’s life over…

    Reading the initial report, it seems she threw the first punch. IF, and only IF she did that, it’s quite possible the police were mandated in arresting her. If she did not do that, then I’m wrong. But the laws in my state clearly state that it doesn’t matter if the alleged victim doesn’t want to press charges; it is one of those zero-tolerance policies.

    It’s the same with any battery, assault or domestic violence case… the police are mandated to arrest the perpetrator.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 3:58am
  5. I can’t believe that the other three girls weren’t prosecuted. Injustice at it’s finest. :(

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 3:59am
  6. She deserves a medal.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:01am
  7. WHY WAS NO ONE ELSE CHARGED IN THIS CASE?

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:03am
  8. This is bullshit this kid had every right to defend herself against bullys !!! Those bullys should have been charged with a hate crime not just to be let go !!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:04am
  9. Hey hey ho ho homophobia has to go !!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:04am
  10. That is probably about the difference of what they expect which is just to protect oneself with enough force to merely safely escape the situation and WTF she probably did which is beat them like a drum and try to kill them (excessive force)… ROFL!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:40am
  11. Why no hate crime against the bullies? Where is Justice when you need it most

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:01am
  12. It’s kind of sad that transgender women of color are bullied and killed at higher rates than most, and yet she’s still being punished for defending herself. Still, I’m glad she’s not being jailed and the judge seems sympathetic.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 11:03am
  13. And the bullies are not being reprimanded?

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 1:03pm
  14. Glad to hear this.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 1:50pm
  15. Just a word of caution to those of you calling for hatecrime charges. Just think about what you are condemning those kids to. Based on immature behavior as pre-adults, you can’t just label them for life. I’m a victim of constant hate, and she was right in my mind for showing them whats what, but she handled it. Don’t make it worse for others because of whatever sense of justice or reciprocity you feel is now entitled to her. Those kids will have their own kids someday, and hopefully learn from their mistakes by then. Just give them the chance now that they’ve done this utterly stupid thing, to grow from it.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 2:10pm
  16. but of the kids are not reprimanded they may feel it is right to continue this kind of behavior into adulthood.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 2:35pm