Self-Defense Immunity Hearing Report

Hi everyone,
Luke’s self-defense immunity hearing was held last Tuesday, July 1st. Unfortunately, the judge denied Luke immunity, so Luke’s case will continue to trial.

A self-defense immunity hearing is an opportunity for the judge to decide that a defendant was acting in self-defense, and therefore that he or she can’t have charges brought against them. In the hearing, both the defense and the prosecution make their cases, and the judge (without a jury) makes a ruling. The burden of proof in these hearings is on the defense, unlike in a trial where the burden of proof is on the prosecution.

If Luke had been granted immunity, the charges would have been dropped and there would be no trial. However, the fact that he wasn’t granted immunity isn’t the end of the world. At trial, arguments for self-defense can still be made. Now, the case will move on as a “normal” case might, and go in front of a jury.

In court, the prosecution made a series of ludicrous claims in order to prop up their case. They made a point of asking every witness whether or not the term “faggot” was offensive, or just a synonym for other “non-offensive” terms like “pussies or bitches,” and later used the word “nigger” as another example of a “non-offensive” term. The prosecuting attorney accused Luke, with no evidence or witnesses of any kind, of having stabbed a homeless person. To try to justify the attempted murder charge, the prosecution also claimed that Luke had held workshops on knife skills and “kill zones.” These things are completely outrageous and false.

During cross-examination by the defense, Officer Jones of the Atlanta Police Department, the lead investigator of the incident, testified that she had failed to ask anyone any questions whatsoever about the stab wounds inflicted on Luke. Furthermore, her report referred to Luke as merely “cut,” rather than “stabbed,” which was the term she applied to every other wounded individual. When questioned, she was unable to explain why – she simply stated that that was what she had written down.

The prosecution’s witnesses admitted to being intoxicated on that New Year’s Eve, and were unable to recall the testimonies they had given to the police directly after the incident. Their conflicting stories about who was there and when, the sequence of the fight, who was involved in the fight, and where they went that night further reduced their credibility. One witness, while under oath, claimed both to have punched no one and to have punched Luke.

The beginning of trial is currently scheduled for August 11th, This will be the “real deal,” so if you are capable and willing to come to court to support Luke, please do. We will post an update with the date and time of the trial as soon as we have that information.

Luke Self-Defense Hearing Set for July 1st

Luke had a status hearing at the courthouse today where we learned that his self-defense hearing will be held on July 1st at 9am. Everyone who can show up to court should, as this will be an important date for Luke. His legal team will be arguing that he should be immune from prosecution because he was acting in self-defense. If you are able to come please show up dressed for court. It will be held at


Fulton County Superior Court

185 Central Ave

Atlanta, GA 30303

Courtoom 5B

Luke’s Court Date Postponed

We just learned that Luke’s Immunity hearing, which was scheduled for Tuesday May 13th, has been postponed until July. When the date approaches we will be asking people to come pack the court and share widely so we can support Luke at this important court date.

Updates on Luke’s Case and Fundraising Efforts

They are a few new updates to announce on Luke O’Donovan’s case as it begins to move through the legal system. At an arraignment hearing on April 15th we learned that in addition to the 5 charges Luke was already facing the state had added an attempted murder charge. Luke will still be attempting to have all charges dismissed on the grounds of self-defense. He has a self-defense immunity hearing set for May 13th, 2014 at 9am. We are strongly encouraging everyone who is able to attend this court date to come out and show support for Luke. If you want to come to court be sure to dress nice. The hearing will be held at the Fulton County Superior Court at 185 Central Ave in courtroom 5b.

In fundraising news we have raised over $13,000 dollars to cover Luke’s legal fees, bond, and other expenses. We need only $500 more to cover the rest of his legal fees for the duration of the case! Thanks so much to everyone who has donated so far, or organized a fundraiser. As Wepay no long accepts donations you can donate to Luke through the paypal linked below. Leave an address and we can send you a letter-pressed poster!

Donate Button

January 30th

It has been over a year since Luke was arrested and charged with five felonies after being assaulted on New Year’s Eve. We apologize for the long delays between updates. Luke’s case has been moving very slowly. He has had only one minor court appearance since his release in January of 2013.

We write now to publicize Luke’s next court date, which will be a motions hearing set for Thursday, January 30th at 10am. At court, Luke’s lawyers will argue for Luke to be granted a Self-Defense Immunity Hearing, where a case would be made for Luke having acted in self-defense. If a Self-Defense Immunity Hearing finds that Luke did indeed act in self-defense, Luke would be immune from prosecution under Georgia law.

So far we have raised over $9,000 to cover Luke’s lawyer fees, bond, and other court and jail costs. There have been fundraisers across the country, and for this we are grateful. Unfortunately, we still need $4,000 to cover the rest of Luke’s legal fees from now through any potential trial. Any and all donations will be appreciated. If you can’t contribute by yourself, please consider holding an event to raise money. Previous events to raise money have included a dinner and movie, dance parties, poster sales, and shows. You can donate here.

Additionally, if you would like to show up to support Luke at his court date, your presence will be welcome. Please come dressed for court. It will be held at:

Fulton County Superior Court
136 Pryor Street
Atlanta, GA 30303

For any questions, email us:

Luke has been Indicted

The Fulton County Superior Court has indicted Luke. This means that the DA is pursuing prosecution. Luke’s lawyer appeared in court on the 27th of august for arraignment and submitted a not guilty plea. Because the case is going to trial Luke is going to have significantly more legal fees. It is yet unclear what those will look like but every bit helps. We are also asking that people call the DA’s office to demand the charges on Luke be dropped:  (404) 612-4981. As of yet we are largely in the dark about what is happening and what will happen but we will keep you updated as we find out.


Luke Released! 01.17

We are overjoyed. His bail was $35K and he was released very early on the morning of the 17th. He is in very high spirits and is currently resting with his friends and family. Luke has still not been indicted and there is still need for much more money to cover lawyers and legal costs.

Luke is overwhelmed and grateful for all of the support he has received so far.

Please stay tuned for more updates!


Luke’s Next Hearing

Luke’s next hearing will be held on Wednesday, January 16th at 9 am at Superior Court (185 Central Avenue SW Atlanta, GA). The hearing will, of course, have major implications on the future of Luke’s case. He has been in jail without bond since the night of the incident (the first of January), on grounds that he is a danger to society.  

Everyone’s presence in court can show the broad support which Luke is receiving from all over, which could be instrumental in swaying the judge to grant bail.

Please show your love and support for Luke and for the survivors of homophobia everywhere by attending the hearing and staying for the duration!  Please come dressed for court and ready to go through a metal detector.

Community Town Hall Discussion


This is an open event, designed to raise awareness about Luke’s situation and to discuss the connection that we all have with the dangers of the homophobia that is so pervasive in modern society. Please attend and spread the word. Your attendance will also help illustrate the broad support that Luke is receiving from the community and may have a direct bearing on his hearing on the 16th and on his case in general.

All (non-homophobic) community members, media, and concerned parties are encouraged to join us!

Fundraiser Update (edit)

Hey all! A fundraiser in Luke’s honor was held tonight in Atlanta. Around 40 people attended, purchasing art, buttons, and literature which had been created for the event. The attendees gave generously while discussing the latest about Luke’s situation, watching an excellent documentary, and enjoying a vegan potluck.

During the event, a call was received from Luke, and he was put on speakerphone.  “Luke!  Luke! Luke!” and “We love you!” chants broke out.  He responded, “I love you guys.”  Luke was in high spirits and said he was not receiving vegan food, but that it was at least vegetarian.

After being tallied, donations reached about $850!!!!!!!!

If you would also like to donate to Luke, you can do so at:

(sorry, we accidentally put the wrong link!)