Prosecutors drop battery charges against bullied trans teen in California

Jewlyes Gutierrez, who had strong family and trans community support, successfully completed a restorative justice program

Prosecutors drop battery charges against bullied trans teen in California
06 May 2014

Battery charges against transgender high school student Jewlyes Gutierrez – filed after she fought with three classmates she said had bullied her for days – have been officially dropped by prosecutors.

The student of Hercules High in Hercules, CA, had been charged with misdemeanor battery after an fight between her and several other students last November was captured on video.

Gutierrez said she was only defending herself after being the target of persistent harassment and intimidation at school. She claimed school staff did not intervene or show support prior to the fight.

There was widespread outrage when the teen was charged by the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office.

The Transgender Law Center had urged the DA’s office to instead work with the families and students involved to find an alternative means of resolving their conflict.

The office dropped the charges this week after Gutierrez completed a restorative justice program conducted by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency per an agreement she had reached with the DA.

The teen had strong family support including an older sister who launched a Change.org petition demanding that the charges be dropped. It had been signed by more than 200,000 people.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Daniel J. Cabral had told Gay Star News in January that prosecutors couldn’t turn a blind eye when someone commits an act of violence.

‘Where do you draw the line? A bat? A gun?’ Cabral had said. ‘The law says we have to hold all people accountable. If we pretend something didn’t happen I don’t think it would be helpful or productive.’

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