The U.S. Department of Justice, under the direction of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has dispatched a federal attorney with experience litigating hate crimes to help prosecute a man charged with the murder of a high school student who identified as transgender. Although the Justice Department rarely assigns its own attorneys to serve as local prosecutors, it does so in cases in which the attorney can provide particular expertise in an area of the law the federal government considers significant. Christopher Perras, a Justice Department attorney, will serve as a county prosecutor in the case against Jorge “Lumini” Sanders-Galvez, who is charged with first-degree murder for the death of Kedarie Johnson, “a gender-fluid teen with an evolving sexuality that included interests in both men and women.” Johnson was shot to death at the age of 16 in Burlington, Iowa, in March 2016.
This announcement follows Sessions’ recent memo regarding the treatment of transgender claims under Title VII, dated October 4, in which he concludes, “Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination encompasses discrimination between men and women but does not encompass discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender status.”
Aiding Transgender Case, Sessions Defies His Image on Civil Rights — New York Times