This week on From the Vault we celebrate Gay Pride Month with a 1979 documentary titled Diminished Capacity, about the social impact of the voluntary manslaughter conviction of San Francisco City Supervisor Dan White, who killed San Francisco Mayor George Mascone and fellow City Supervisor Harvey Milk on November 27, 1978. According to his lawyer, White, who was overly distressed about losing his position on the Board of Supervisors, acted without malice, deliberation or premeditation – the necessary conditions for a first-degree murder conviction in California. White’s legal team argued for acquittal of first-degree murder charges (and instead conviction of much less severe voluntary manslaughter charges) on the concept that White was afflicted with the condition of “diminished capacity.” White would serve only five years of a seven-year sentence before his release. The original documentary Diminished Capacity was produced by Greg Gordon, longtime host of the international LGBT radio magazine This Way Out, who also interviewed Milk in 1978 shortly after his election to City Supervisor. We conclude this episode of From the Vault with that interview.
From the Vault is presented as part of the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project, funded in part by an award from the GRAMMY Foundation and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission at the National Archives and Records Administration, and past grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, and the American Archive funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, along with the generous support of Pacifica Radio Listeners. We also thank our partners and collaborators at the Pop-Up Archive, Amara, Other Minds Archives, George Blood Audio, and the California Audio Visual Preservation Project.
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