Attorney Marc Grossman Wins Freedom Of Convicted Murderer After 20 Years in Prison
After more than 20 years in prison and several failed attempts for parole, Attorney Marc Grossman of Upland, California was able free a victim of gay bashing convicted of murder in 1986. Despite many state and federal court decisions concluding that Robert Rosenkrantz’s constitutional rights of due process had been violated by California’s parole system by continuing to deny him parole after he had served more than the minimum length of his sentence, first Governor Grey Davis and then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had repeatedly denied Rosenkrantz the opportunity for parole until attorney Marc Grossman was able to secure his release.
Gay Bashing Precipitated the Murder
Rosenkrantz was just out of highschool and barely 18 years old in 1985. It was a different time, when being gay was not an accepted social norm and coming out could expose you to bullying and other forms victimization especially if you were a high school student. One night in June 1985, Rosenkrantz was with a male companion in his parents’ beach house, when his younger brother Joey and a friend, Steven Redman, a classmate of Rosenkrantz, arrived to spy on him. Redman had suspected that Rosenkrantz was gay and now Redman knew first hand. Redman kicked in the door of the beach house and yelled, “Get the fuck out of here you faggots,” and then struck Rosenkrantz with the flashlight, breaking his nose. Joey, was carrying a stun gun and burned his brother’s hand while attempting to use it on him. Rosenkrantz ran out to his car and retrieved a BB gun. He used it to try to pin down Redman and Joey to prevent them from leaving the beach house. Joey and Redman called Rosenkrantz’s father and, when he arrived, they told him that they had seen Rosenkrantz with another man engaged in a sex act.
Rosenkrantz insisted to his father he was not gay and that the two were mistaken, but his father, angry, threw him out of the house. Rosenkrantz was distraught after having been outed in such a callous manner. He spent a few days living in his car, where he became more and more upset with the recent events. At some point he acquired an Uzi machine gun after which he confronted Redman and demanded that he take back what he had said to Rosenkrantz’s father. Redman refused and continued to taunt and ridicule Rosenkrantz calling him “faggot” and making other disparaging remarks. The teen was so angered by Redman’s actions that he shot him and killed him.
The Court Case
Prosecutors first sought a first degree murder, but understandably, the jury demonstrated empathy for Rosenkrantz, obviously recognizing that the teen was a victim of gay bashing. The result was that Rosenkrantz was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 15 years to life, plus two years for using a firearm.
Time in Prison
Rosenkrantz proved to be a model prisoner, compiling a perfect record, and earning two college degrees and a number of vocational certificates. He also completed every available therapy and counseling program and received stellar recommendations from prison officials in support of his applications for parole once he had served his minimum time.
Yet each time he attempted to be released on parole, he was ultimately rejected buy two different governors. Rosenkrantz’s parole appeals became notorious in the California gay community, where many people came to understand the nature of the provocation and strain under which Rosenkrantz was operating at the young age of 18.
After a long and difficult battle, the state and federal courts both decided that by continuing to deny parole based entirely on the nature of the offense was depriving Rosenkrantz of his right to due process of law. The governing statutes provided that a convict who has served the minimum time required under his sentence is entitled to release if his rehabilitation results in him no longer being a danger to the community. No one in the prison system presented a single piece of evidence that indicated Rosenkrantz posed an ongoing threat to the public. In fact, Rosenkrantz’s own efforts to become college educated and to learn new trades demonstrated his ability to be a productive member of society and worthy of being released from prison. The court saw that Rosenkrantz had accepted responsibility for what he had done, understood and acknowledged that it was wrong, and transformed himself to become a useful, non-threatening member of society and, therefore, should be released on parole.
This lead to the federal court and the California Supreme Court ordering Rosenkrantz to be released. Less than a week after the courts ruled in Rosenkrantz’s favor, he was released on parole to his parents who had long ago come to accept that their son was gay. Upon his release he started a career in information technology.
There video related to this post is excerpted from a KCAL 9 interview with Criminal Defense Attorney shortly after the release of Rosenkrantz. Today being homosexual, gay, lesbian, bi or transgender is widely accepted. While the actions that Rosenkrantz took as a result of having been a victim of gay bashing were wrong, one must recognize that had the same events occurred today, the outcome would likely have been much different.
Attorney Marc Grossman is a supporter of gay rights and has represented many gay, lesbian and transgender people in actions to protect their rights, to assist them in divorces and to represent them in their unique criminal situation.
If you have been a victim of gay bashing or if you have been harassed by the police or government official because you are gay, lesbian or transgender the Law Offices of Marc Grossman can help. If you are contemplating divorce, the Law Offices of Marc Grossman is one of the few experts in same sex marriage and same sex divorce. We invite you to call us at 855-LOMG-911 or complete one of the many contact forms that you will find on our website, wefight4you.com. We are here to help.