Murder and the Reasonable Man: Passion and Fear in the Criminal Courtroom

By Cynthia Lee | Go to book overview

3
Gay Panic

March 1, 1995. Pontiac, Michigan. Jonathan Schmitz, a twenty-four-yearold employee at the Fox and Hounds restaurant in Pontiac, Michigan, was looking forward to his upcoming appearance on the Jenny Jones Show. The nationally televised show was airing a segment on “Secret Admirers” and John had been invited to Chicago to appear as a guest. John hoped that his secret admirer would be his former girlfriend, Kristen. John wanted to resume a relationship with his ex and had told friends that if Kristen was his secret admirer, he would propose to her.

March 6, 1995. Chicago, Illinois. Showtime. John sat on stage, waiting to see his former sweetheart. Then Scott Amedure appeared. John was taken aback. What was his friend Scott doing on the show? Then he realized— Scott was his secret admirer. John managed a smile and hugged Scott for the sake of the cameras. He even laughed when Scott recounted a fantasy that involved John, whipped cream, strawberries, and champagne.

On his way back to Michigan, John told his friend Donna Riley, who had worked with Scott Amedure to arrange the taping, that he could get angry about his appearance on the Jenny Jones Show if he thought about it. On the plane, John struck up a conversation with Patricia Cielinski, who was sitting next to him. John told her about his experience on the show and said he was disappointed that his friends Donna and Scott had set him up. He told Patricia that he had spent $600 on new clothes and other things, thinking that his secret admirer would be his ex-girlfriend or another woman. John repeated that he could get angry about Scott's appearance on the show if he thought about it. Yet after returning to Michigan, John went out for drinks with Scott and Donna.

March 9, 1995. Pontiac, Michigan. John came home from work to find a flashing construction light and an anonymous note in front of his apartment. The note read, “John, if you want it off, you'll have to ask me. P.S. It takes a special kind of tool. Guess Who.” Believing the note was a crude sexual come-on from Scott, John drove to his bank and withdrew $350. He

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Murder and the Reasonable Man: Passion and Fear in the Criminal Courtroom
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - Crimes of Passion (The Doctrine of Provocation) 15
  • 1: Female Infidelity 17
  • 2: Unreasonable Women, Gay Men, and Men of Color 46
  • 3: Gay Panic 67
  • 4: Culture and Crime 96
  • Part II - Crimes of Fear (The Doctrine of Self-Defense) 125
  • 5: An Overview of the Doctrine of Self-Defense 127
  • 6: Race and Self-Defense 137
  • 7: Race and Police Use of Deadly Force 175
  • Part III - Rethinking Reasonableness 201
  • 8: The Elusive Meaning of Reasonableness 203
  • 9: Toward a Normative Conception of Reasonableness 226
  • 10: The Act-Emotion Distinction 260
  • Conclusion 276
  • Notes 279
  • Bibliography 349
  • Index 365
  • About the Author 371
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