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New York's Highest Court Agrees to Hear Appeal in Syracuse Transgender Murder Case

New York State’s highest court has agreed to look at an appeal of a lower court ruling that freed a Syracuse man convicted of the state’s first hate crime.  Back in July, the State Supreme Court’s 4th Appellate Division tossed out the conviction of Dwight DeLee in the 2008 murder of transgender woman Lateisha Green on a technicality.  

Michael Silverman is Executive Director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund in New York City, and has worked with the Green family for the past five years.

Mallory Livingston is a Syracuse attorney and President of the Transgender Alliance.   After being crestfallen in July following the lower court ruling, she's encouraged by how the Court of Appeals is handling the case.

Mallory Livingston thinks the legal battle is in their favor.

Lateisha Green was shot and killed by DeLee in 2008 while sitting in a car with her brother and talking to friends during a block party.   Evidence at trial showed DeLee targeted Green because she was a transgender woman, and the jury convicted him of a hate crime.  He was serving a 25 year sentence when he was released this summer.  Since then, Livingston says the transgender community's safety has been at risk.  She says Syracuse Police have been keeping a close eye on the Green family, and no incidents have been reported.  Both sides have until April 8th to submit legal briefs, and the court may choose to hear oral arguments before rendering its decision.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at