In 1998, a transgender woman lost his claim that his gender identity disorder should result in a reduced sentence for child sexual abuse.
Daniel Turner was convicted of criminal charges in Michigan arising after an incident involving the kidnapping and molestation of a child. Turner argued that he was denied effective assistance of counsel when his trial counsel failed to investigate and develop a diminished capacity defense. Turner argued that his apparent gender identity disorder and the complainant’s testimony that he urinated on her supported such a defense. From the record, it appears that Daniel would dress as a woman and expressed dislike at being male and wanted to become female. However, Daniel does not indicate how this would render him incapable of appreciating the wrongfulness of child sexual abuse or of conforming his conduct to the law in this regard. Daniel has shown no correlation between having a gender identity disorder and committing child sexual abuse. Moreover, while Daniel Turner’s conduct in this case was particularly repulsive, it does little to show that he lacked the capacity to control his actions so as to support such a defense. Accordingly, the court concluded that Daniel did not show either that counsel performed unreasonably by failing to present a diminished capacity defense or that there is a reasonable probability that the outcome of the trial would have been different if such a defense had been proffered. Thus, he did not establish ineffective assistance of counsel.