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Jim Crow by any other name is still Jim Crow
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, May 09, 2007

J.R. Labbe gets it right:
In a 237-180 vote May 3, the House approved a bill that would expand federal hate-crime categories to include violent attacks against homosexuals and people targeted because of gender. House Bill 1592 also would make it easier for federal law enforcement to assist local prosecutions in investigating and trying bias-motivated cases. A similar bill is working its way through the Senate.

The White House is backing up President Bush's veto threat with a sound argument: State and local criminal laws already cover the crimes defined under the bill, and there is "no persuasive demonstration of any need to federalize such a potentially large range of violent crime enforcement."

Discrimination against a person because of race, gender, sexual orientation or physical disabilities is flat-out, no-argument wrong. To deny someone the opportunity to fully engage in civic society based on any of those criteria is anti-American. (And yes, that includes government benefits conferred on married couples.) When the question is civil rights, the nation's democratic foundations of fairness and equal protection are shaken if one sector of society is treated differently from the others.

At the same time, to enhance penalties or to step up prosecution efforts because the victim of a crime is a member of a "protected class" is wrong. A life is a life is a life —- one is not worth any more or any less than another.
What is being proposed in this legislation is to punish alleged thoughts against, as Labbe points out, a "protected class" of citizens. The same sort of "crimes" with which minorities such as blacks were punished in the days of Jim Crow, if, for instance, they were to look at a white woman. They also received more severe punishment for common crimes committed by both races simply because they were black.

The "protected class" in that era were whites, and we, as a society found that to be "anti-American" and unacceptable as it went against the foundational principle of our country - equal protection under the law. This is no different in the broad sense.

Assault is assault, and we have laws on the books to define and punish it. Same with rape, murder, and many other crimes. To attempt to begin to define crime by the thoughts which may have motivated it and to then punish more severely those who are deemed to have had those thoughts is an absurd leap into the unknowable and, as Labbe points out assigns "value to victim's lives, as if some are worth more to society" if they belong to the particular protected classes.
In a just society, punishment is exacted for aberrant behavior, not for the idea that motivated it.

Although motive might explain the behavior, it should in no way make the prosecution more aggressive or the punishment worse any more than it should excuse the act.

As U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin (R-Okla.) said, "The violence produced by hate is already illegal."
And that is the way it should remain. This is a bill which the Senate must reject as it erodes the very foundation of our legal system and its equal legal protections for all. We simply don't need to see the equivalent of Jim Crow laws being reintroduced because the "intent" is "good" and its supporters want to "make up for historically unequal enforcement of the law". The way to make up for that past unequal treatment isn't to be found in legislating even more unequal treatment, regardless of the good intentions, but instead to ensure it never happens again by enforcing existing laws properly and equally across the board.
 
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Comments
I would take it a step further then you McQ. The laws that make killing a policeman worse then killing a private citizen need voided. I know if someone would harm a cop then they wouldn’t mind at all harming the population in general but also if someone harms an individual then they wouldn’t mind harming an individual also. Make them all carry the same punishment.
 
Written By: SkyWatch
URL: http://
Although motive might explain the behavior, it should in no way make the prosecution more aggressive or the punishment worse any more than it should excuse the act.

flat wrong, and has been so since forever. Motive, or more broadly the mental state, of the defendant has always been an intrinsic part of determining the magnitude of the punishment imposed.

This is cop show 101 stuff. Murder, manslaughter, and reckless homicide all have a dead body involved. The difference is the state of mind of the person who did the killing.

in the same vein, all sorts of aggravating and mitigating circumstances are taken into consideration in sentencing. I believe, but haven’t checked, that a finding that a motivating factor for the crime was the victim’s religion may considered in federal sentencing. Adding gender and sexual orientation to the list of aggravating circumstances merely recognizes that those factors are, in fact, common enough factors in enough crimes that they should be included in sentencing.
 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
Francis -
Murder, manslaughter, and reckless homicide all have a dead body involved. The difference is the state of mind of the person who did the killing.
The difference in each case is intent, not motive. Very different concept.
in the same vein, all sorts of aggravating and mitigating circumstances are taken into consideration in sentencing. I believe, but haven’t checked, that a finding that a motivating factor for the crime was the victim’s religion may considered in federal sentencing. Adding gender and sexual orientation to the list of aggravating circumstances merely recognizes that those factors are, in fact, common enough factors in enough crimes that they should be included in sentencing.
Why? Doesn’t the criminalization of a motive, in effect, criminalize thought? If the purported motive for a crime can increase your sentence, why not throw a person in prison for holding that motive in the first place?

 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net
So according to Francis, the premeditated killing of a person because he is gay should be considered worse than the premeditated killing of that person because you wanted to steal his money.

I can’t see how you could make one motivation for the murder any worse than the other.

In other words, the ACTION should be criminalized rather than the thoughts. As far as intent or motivation, it’s the resulting action that is criminal (or should be). The intent may be useful in determining between 1st and 2nd degree murder, but there’s no difference between intending to hurt someone because of bigotry rather than financial gain.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
So why we don’t up the ante for bias-motivated killings of the elderly, the wealthy (think the VaTech shooter), the young, the military, etc? I think I know . . .
 
Written By: Sean
URL: http://www.myelectionanalysis.com
BTW, I found the following 2006 Federal Sentencing Guidelines:

VICTIM-RELATED ADJUSTMENTS
http://www.ussc.gov/2006guid/CHAP3.html
§3A1.1. Hate Crime Motivation or Vulnerable Victim

(a) If the finder of fact at trial or, in the case of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, the court at sentencing determines beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intentionally selected any victim or any property as the object of the offense of conviction because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation of any person, increase by 3 levels.

(b) (1) If the defendant knew or should have known that a victim of the offense was a vulnerable victim, increase by 2 levels.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
If the defendant knew or should have known that a victim of the offense was a vulnerable victim, increase by 2 levels.
Boy, now THAT’S Jim Crow. "Should have known"? If a crime is committed against a minority, with normal malice or motive (he wanted the minority’s purse), AND the defense shows that the mugger didn’t know and didn’t care that the victim was a minority but the mugger SHOULD HAVE KNOWN that the victim was a minority, he gets harsher punishment?

I guess some people are more equal than others.
 
Written By: Jinnmabe
URL: http://
A life is a life is a life —- one is not worth any more or any less than another.
True, but then again, a point is a point is a point - and in this case, it’s one Labbe completely missed. Does Labbe really believe there should be no degrees of murder, no sentence enhancements of any kind, not even a distinction between murder, voluntary manslaughter and even involuntary manslaughter? All crimes result in a dead victim, and a life is a life is a life, blah blah blah, so they should all get the same punishment, right?

Only when we get past the silly stage and acknowledge the legitimacy of aggravating vs. mitigating factors generally, can we seriously debate the issue of hate crime sentence enhancements specifically. There’s no easy answer to this question, and all this hand-waving over "protected classes" (as if to suggest that only members of certain races and not others are capable of becoming victims of hate crimes) does little to help. Yes, there probably is a pattern of protecting certain classes more than others, but that’s an argument for better, more consistent enforcement of hate crime laws, not an argument against the laws themselves.

Then again, to his credit, at least Labbe had the good sense to eschew frivolous and deliberately inflammatory references to Jim Crow, a close cousin of Godwin’s Law.
 
Written By: Xrlq
URL: http://xrlq.com/
"If the defendant knew or should have known that a victim of the offense was a vulnerable victim, increase by 2 levels."
Boy, now THAT’S Jim Crow.
No just an example of horrendous reading comprehension on your part. The hate crime provision is in subsection (a), which requires the jury to find beyond a reasonable doubt that the perp selected his victim according to race, creed, etc., as perceived by the perp at the time (e.g., if a would-be gay basher singled out a victim because he thought the guy was gay, he can’t defend himself by producing evidence that his victim was actually straight). The subsection you are railing about, subsection (b), is about crimes against vulnerable victims, not hate crimes. Two separate concepts.
 
Written By: Xrlq
URL: http://xrlq.com/
"some animals are more equal than others"
 
Written By: MarkD
URL: http://
Bryan: what do you believe is the difference between motive and intent?
 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
Does Labbe really believe there should be no degrees of murder, no sentence enhancements of any kind, not even a distinction between murder, voluntary manslaughter and even involuntary manslaughter?
Are you trying to argue that intending to kill a person due to some "ism" deserves worse punishment than intending to kill someone in order to more easily steal his money?

Additional factors might include how the victim was killed, but why should putting a bullet through the head of a gay man be any different than the same action against a man at an ATM?

According to the section above, selecting the victim because of hate is worse than selecting the victim because you saw that he had something to steal.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Doesn’t the criminalization of a motive, in effect, criminalize thought? If the purported motive for a crime can increase your sentence, why not throw a person in prison for holding that motive in the first place?
No to the first question, because we only criminalize actions to the second question.

Suppose a white man finds out his wife is cheating on him. He kills the other man. Events led to the death and whatever his punishment, it’s unlikely he will be driven to murder another person - at least not for adultery with his wife. It shouldn’t matter what the race of the other man was.

Suppose however a Klansman who thinks blacks are subhuman kills a black man for whatever reason. Isn’t it more likely he would kill again because the motive level is so low?

(Of course if the Klansman is the husband who learns his wife is cheating on him everything gets a bit blurred but still...)

Or perhaps to make it even clearer:

Suppose a Muslim finds out his wife is cheating on him. He kills the other man. Events led to the death and whatever his punishment, it’s unlikely he will be driven to murder another person - at least not for adultery with his wife.

Suppose a Muslim who thinks Americans are subhuman kills a man for whatever reason. Isn’t it more likely he would kill again because the motive level is so low?


 
Written By: abwtf
URL: http://abw.mee.nu
Xrlq -
Yes, there probably is a pattern of protecting certain classes more than others, but that’s an argument for better, more consistent enforcement of hate crime laws, not an argument against the laws themselves.
Again, why? What is accomplished by punishment according to supposed motive rather than limiting inquiry to intent and deed? What are legislators trying to discourage, exactly?

Some mitigating and aggravating factors make sense to me. The defendant being under some kind of extreme duress, for example, seems to warrant consideration when deciding what level of force is appropriate to minimize coercion and deter other crimes.

The best argument I can think of, off the top of my head, to defend the use of "hate" motivations as an aggravating factor is that a person motivated in this manner is more likely to commit a crime in the future based on the same motivation than other criminals who might commit the same crime, and as such, a little extra discouragement can lower the aggregate long-run coercion. Is that a faithful representation of your argument, or do you have other arguments?

Or, are you arguing that a crime motivated in this manner actually creates more harms than a crime motivated by some other factor(s)?
 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net
what do you believe is the difference between motive and intent?
Motive = reason for the action or "why" you did it
Intent = goal, objective or "what" you plan to do

In other words...if a person intends to kill another, there are a variety of possible motives driving the intent to kill.

Why is one motive any worse than another given the intent?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
abwtf - You posted while I was writing up my comment. I wonder how rigorous that argument is, however. A crime of passion may happen only once, under some extreme emotional trauma, or perhaps the defendant is the kind of person who is given to committing crimes of passion in the first place.

Francis -
Bryan: what do you believe is the difference between motive and intent?
Intent is what you are hoping to accomplish at the time. This separates different degrees of murder, for example (first degree, second degree, voluntary and involuntary manslaughter).

Motive is what makes you want to do the crime.

"Hate crime" legislation punishes the motive, not the intent.
 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net
Suppose...finds out his wife is cheating on him. He kills the other man...it’s unlikely he will be driven to murder another person...

vs.

Suppose...thinks blacks are subhuman kills a black man for whatever reason. Isn’t it more likely he would kill again because the motive level is so low?
Both men are in jail (or else the purpose of debating the law is meaningless) so they are both equally unlikely to kill anyone in public.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Suppose...finds out his wife is cheating on him. He kills the other man...it’s unlikely he will be driven to murder another person...
Also, why do you suppose a man with the capacity to kill after being humiliated is unlikely to kill again?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Motive is cleary recognized as a relevant factor in enhancing penalties under the criminal law.

For instance, in many states, an accused murderer becomes death penalty eligible if he committed the murder and was motivated to do so in an effort to cover up an earlier crime. His intent is to cause death. And his motive to do so is to cover his tracks.

There are several other examples of where motive is relevant under the criminal law. This is hardly a controversial proposition.
Again, why? What is accomplished by punishment according to supposed motive rather than limiting inquiry to intent and deed? What are legislators trying to discourage, exactly?
The basic idea is that someone who is motivated by animus toward a race, for example, as opposed to a particular individual, is much more likely to re-offend and thus should be punished more harshly. Moreover, he or she may inspire others to kill based on race as well. This really isn’t a complicated idea.
Also, why do you suppose a man with the capacity to kill after being humiliated is unlikely to kill again?
Not necessarily unlikely, just less likely than someone who kills based on gender or race.

Again, the idea here is rather simple.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
"flat wrong, and has been so since forever. Motive, or more broadly the mental state, of the defendant has always been an intrinsic part of determining the magnitude of the punishment imposed."

Then obviously we do not need a new law.


*****************************

" Isn’t it more likely he would kill again because the motive level is so low?"

Not if he is in jail, which he presumably would be since killing is illegal.

*******************

" What are legislators trying to discourage, exactly?"

Why, evil thoughts, of course. That was easy.

 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Suppose a Muslim who thinks Americans are subhuman kills a man for whatever reason. Isn’t it more likely he would kill again because the motive level is so low?
Suppose I, a white guy, killed a man—of any racial/ethnic background—for no reason at all. Isn’t it likely that I would kill again because the motive level is so low? Your argument only comes into play if I kill a member of a protected class. You can’t seriously argue that killing a gay man because of an irrational hatred of homosexuals is a more serious offense than killing a red-headed guy because of an irrational hatred of people with red hair, or that one act is more deserving of federal involvement than the other.

Several posters have mentioned the validity of the consideration of mitigating and extenuating circumstances in defining the type and severity of a crime. A crime in which a person of a protected class is killed simply because of his/her status as a member of that class is simply a crime in which no valid mitigating factors exist, and the criminal code already takes that into account—without the need for grouping people into convenient little classes. It could be argued that the fact that a crime was committed because the offender irrationally hated the victim is an extenuating circumstance, but even in that case it’s not valid to say that certain reasons for hating someone are more valid than others. Hating a gay guy for no reason is not different from hating anyone else for no reason. That argument also fails because, as several others have pointed out, the thought, rather than the act is being punished. To the extent that it is relevant to establishing motive and intent, hate is already taken into account by the criminal code, and that is the limit of the validity of its consideration.
For instance, in many states, an accused murderer becomes death penalty eligible if he committed the murder and was motivated to do so in an effort to cover up an earlier crime. His intent is to cause death. And his motive to do so is to cover his tracks.
Covering up a crime is itself a crime. It is an action. Hating someone is not a crime. It is not an action. You’re right. This is a pretty simple issue.

 
Written By: Vermin
URL: http://
You can’t seriously argue that killing a gay man because of an irrational hatred of homosexuals is a more serious offense than killing a red-headed guy because of an irrational hatred of people with red hair, or that one act is more deserving of federal involvement than the other.
Sure you can. It is more serious because, historically, gay people have a history of being harmed or killed simply because they are gay. There is no such historical record when it comes to red headed people.

Again, the concern is that if one person kills another because the second is gay, it might inspire others with animus towards gays to kill as well. The best historical example is lynchings in the South during Jim Crow. Blacks were lynched because they were black. And the more that were lynched, the more socially acceptable the practice became.
Covering up a crime is itself a crime. It is an action. Hating someone is not a crime. It is not an action. You’re right. This is a pretty simple issue.
But you know that someone is attempting to cover up a crime only by looking into his thoughts, which is what you are complaining about. In other words, in such a case, the jury is being asked to reach a conclusion as to why the killer killed, not simply that he intended to bring about a death.

Care to try again?
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Why not make the wealthy a protected class as well? After all, money is a very common motive.

Judging by the current state of Europe and our college campuses, these fascists will soon be proposing hate speech laws. Racist scum.
 
Written By: Jordan
URL: http://
historically, gay people have a history of being harmed or killed simply because they are gay
Historically, people with any amount of money have been harmed or killed simply because they have money.
And the more that were lynched, the more socially acceptable the practice became.
Same goes for violent robbery.
But you know that someone is attempting to cover up a crime only by looking into his thoughts, which is what you are complaining about. In other words, in such a case, the jury is being asked to reach a conclusion as to why the killer killed, not simply that he intended to bring about a death.
The jury is NOT being asked to reach a conclusion as to why the killer killed; they are being asked to reach a conclusion about the guilt of one criminal ACTION (the activity involved in the coverup) following a previous criminal ACTION.

In other words, no one is found guilty of hatred.

MK, you are indeed "smart" like Nifong.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
People have been killing people who are jerks. There is history here. Jerks are often murdered for being jerks and have been for 10,000 years. That’s 10,000 years of OPPRESSION! Also debters, who are victimized by loan sharks. Same goes for loud-mouthed drunks at bars, who are often victims of assalt simply because of their special status or preferences. PROTECTED RIGHTS, SPECIAL STATUS NOW! Anyone who disagrees with me is a bigot.
 
Written By: Rational Progressive
URL: http://
So red heads are just screwed.

We do take into account a lot of factors when it comes to violence against other people. Self-defense certainly has to do with motivation. We’ve seen self-defense work as a legal defense when the murder was set up over a long time span We are far more offended when children or other helpless persons are assaulted or killed.

I think that hate-crime laws are different, though. If we want to take race or sexual orientation into account it has to be done in such a way that the principle *also* applies to the red heads. Or whites. Or anyone else. It has to apply across the board with *no* protected class of people. No hate-crime categories of victims.

"The defendant hates red heads" ought to do it. "The defendant was motivated by hatred for blond men" ought to do it.

If we actually want to go there, that’s how it should have to be. The law should apply equally to people no matter their group membership.

 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
In a 237-180 vote May 3, the House approved a bill that would expand federal hate-crime categories to include violent attacks against homosexuals and people targeted because of gender. House Bill 1592 also would make it easier for federal law enforcement to assist local prosecutions in investigating and trying bias-motivated cases.
Well, let’s all talk about sentencing, and whether or not I should get more of a sentence for shooting a black man and stealing his kicks than I get if I shoot a white man and steal his kicks when that’s NOT what they’re talking about in the legislation.

They’re talking about it being another CRIME for me to shoot him if he’s black and I steal his sneakers. I get charged with shooting and stealing if it’s only a white guy. I can get charged with shooting, stealing and HATING if it’s a black guy.

charged, a crime, and mandatory sentencing for certain crimes not withstanding, not necessarily more or less sentence. That’s not the same as considered as a factor during sentencing.

I fail to see how it’s a worse crime to shoot someone for being black than shooting them for their sneakers. I can see how it might be considered during my sentencing if I have a history of gunning down only black men when I steal sneakers.
Blacks were lynched because they were black. And the more that were lynched the more socially acceptable the practice became.
MK, (hello....are you returned?)
Socially acceptable?
Are you trying to say I should receive no additional charges and a lesser sentence if I hang white people on a regular basis? That I shouldn’t be particularly discouraged from hanging white people, but that I should be specifically discouraged from hanging black people? How many whites do
I have to hang before it’s socially acceptable? Is it a higher or lower number than the number of blacks I have to hang?

We want to discourage people from hanging anyone, right? All equal under the law, right? As a white male I’m a little peeved at the idea that someone can get less jail time for murdering me for my sneakers than murdering my neighbor Robert for his.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Why not make the wealthy a protected class as well? After all, money is a very common motive.
Despite some opinions to the contrary, the wealthy, as a class, have not historically been discriminated against.

Again, this is not a difficult issue.
I think that hate-crime laws are different, though. If we want to take race or sexual orientation into account it has to be done in such a way that the principle *also* applies to the red heads. Or whites. Or anyone else. It has to apply across the board with *no* protected class of people. No hate-crime categories of victims.
If you want to present evidence at a hearing before a legislature that red-heads, as a class, have historically been discriminated against because they are red-heads, then go ahead. No one is stopping you. Again, I doubt very highly that you would be able to marshall such evidence, but give it a try.

The problem you will run into, however, is that as a class, red-heads haven’t historically been discriminated against. For instance, there has never been a law that says red-heads can’t serve in the military. To the best of my knowledge, there is no historical record of red-heads being killed or murdered simply because they are red-heads.

Legislatures make laws based on evidence and fact (hopefully). If there is an evidentiary of factual basis to believe that persons in a particular group or class have been harmed because their membership in that group, a legislature should have the ability to make laws based on that finding.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
JWG:
Additional factors might include how the victim was killed, but why should putting a bullet through the head of a gay man be any different than the same action against a man at an ATM?
It probably shouldn’t, as murder motivated by robbery should (and, AFAIK, does) warrant sentence enhancements also. Both should be treated differently, IMNSHO, from the guy who put a bullet through the head of someone who had legitimately provoked him, or even from the Blood who put a bullet through a Crip’s head for being a Crip.

Brian Pick:
Again, why? What is accomplished by punishment according to supposed motive rather than limiting inquiry to intent and deed?
Justice. What on earth would be accomplished by deliberately ignoring the totality of the circumstances in which a crime is committed?

Vermin:
You can’t seriously argue that killing a gay man because of an irrational hatred of homosexuals is a more serious offense than killing a red-headed guy because of an irrational hatred of people with red hair, or that one act is more deserving of federal involvement than the other.
You can’t argue to the contrary and expect to be taken seriously. Remind me once again why it is illegal for employers to fire white workers solely for being white, but legal for employers to fire redheads solely for being redheads? Oh yeah, the Jim Crow Act of 1964, of course.

Synova:
I think that hate-crime laws are different, though. If we want to take race or sexual orientation into account it has to be done in such a way that the principle *also* applies to the red heads. Or whites. Or anyone else.
Hate crimes do not take race or sexual orientation into account. They take the perp’s motive into account. If you kill a guy who just happens to be white, that’s not a hate crime. If you kill a guy because he’s white (or you mistake him to be), it is. Not so for redheads, but then again, killing someone over any other hair color isn’t a hate crime, either. You’d have a stronger point if the hate crime laws were written to make certain hair colors a protected class, but not others.
They’re talking about it being another CRIME for me to shoot him if he’s black and I steal his sneakers. I get charged with shooting and stealing if it’s only a white guy. I can get charged with shooting, stealing and HATING if it’s a black guy.
Only if it can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that you shot the guy because he is black, and not because you wanted his sneakers. This is the same rule that would apply if someone murdered you for yours. The only difference being, that hate is tough to prove if the perp and the victim are members of the same race. Most white criminals aren’t in the habit of singling out potential victims because they are white.

mkultra:
Despite some opinions to the contrary, the wealthy, as a class, have not historically been discriminated against.
They have been with respect to property crimes, not for hate but for reasons unrelated to this discussion: that’s where the money is.
 
Written By: Xrlq
URL: http://xrlq.com/
The jury is NOT being asked to reach a conclusion as to why the killer killed; they are being asked to reach a conclusion about the guilt of one criminal ACTION (the activity involved in the coverup) following a previous criminal ACTION
Sure they are. The following is a typical aggravating factor from a state death penalty law. In the state, the death penalty can be imposed if:
(e) The murder was committed in an effort to conceal the
commission of a crime, or to conceal the identity of the
perpetrator of a crime.
Emphasis mine. As the statute makes clear, the focus is on what the murder’s effort was. If you were correct, the statute would simply read that that the murder was committed following the commission of a different crime. But it doesn’t say that. It says "in an effort to." And that language goes straight to the issue of motive. Why did he kill? He killed "in an effort to" to do X.

Nice try though.


 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
As a white male I’m a little peeved at the idea that someone can get less jail time for murdering me for my sneakers than murdering my neighbor Robert for his.


You misunderstand hate laws. The penalty isn’t higher because the person killed was black. The penalty is higher because the person was killed because the person was black.

Opponents of hate laws believe that juries are incapable of discerning what caused a person to harm another person. But juries are perfectly capable of doing that. Every day juries make conclusions about what was going on inside a person’s head. They look at the evidence and draw inferences.

Indeed, take any employment discrimination case. The issue is almost always why was the person fired. Juries decide those cases every day, even though they focus directly on motive.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Are you liberal knee-jerkers all warmed up? Get ready. Santa Claus came early this year, bring lefty blogs a present they cannot refuse: OJ is apparently going to sue claiming "racism". Get the popcorn for the orgy of assininity as the left once again debases itself in every way possible or imaginable.
 
Written By: notherbob2/robert fulton
URL: http://
Describing liberals for what they are is not a hate crime. Yet.
 
Written By: notherbob2/robert fulton
URL: http://
Why is MK putting blacks and gays into a separate classes? Who is HE to decide what’s a class, anyway? Isn’t putting people into legal classes the behavior of a bigot/racist?
 
Written By: TS Elmo
URL: http://
Why is MK putting blacks and gays into a separate classes? Who is HE to decide what’s a class, anyway? Isn’t putting people into legal classes the behavior of a bigot/racist?
I’m not. The legislature is. And no, recognizing that persons of certain races or of a sexual orientation have historically been discriminated against is not racism. It is simply examining the historical record. Next question.

Here’s a better question: Would it be ok to fire your wife or daughther from a job because she is a woman? Or because she is black? Would it be ok to fire you from a job because of your relgious beliefs?

After all, such laws require jurors to examine the beliefs of the person who fired you. And we can’t have that, right? Seriously. If your problem with hate laws is that they require an examinations of the defendant’s beliefs, and punishes the defendant for those beliefs, then it should be perfectly acceptable to discharge a Chirstian from a job because that person is a Christian. Because if it isn’t, then it the case is very likely to end up in front of a jury which will be charged with deciding if the employer is a religious bigot.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
And no, recognizing that persons of certain races or of a sexual orientation have historically been discriminated against is not racism. It is simply examining the historical record. Next question.
When do we get rid of these laws, if historical record is their basis?
Forever? 20 years? 10 years? How many years?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
"Race" and "sexual orientation" don’t exist in the real world. There is no scientific evidence for their existance. Unless you want to set arbritrary limits based on DNA sampling? For example, how do you define "black"? Perhaps you use the "one-eighth" rule? What about men who prefer men sexually but sleep with women?

You ask a poor question: People should be able to associate with who they wish. To dislike someone shouldn’t be a crime. Would you fire someone for being a national socialist? If so, you are a bigot toward Nazis.

Further, do you have mind reading powers? Can you share with us this mind-reading technology? Epistemologically, can you prove that someone "hates" gays? If you do have acess to a mind-reader, why are you posting here?

 
Written By: TS Elmo
URL: http://
Why did he kill? He killed "in an effort to" to do X
He killed in an effort to hide ANOTHER CRIME. Thought (e.g. hate) should not be a crime.

Example 1) He killed in an effort to steal money.
Example 2) He killed in an effort to get revenge.
Example 3) He killed in an effort to put a gay man "in his place."
Example 4) He killed in an effort to cover up a previous murder.

In all of these, the first part is a crime (killing).

In which examples is the second part also a crime?

Why do leftists want to criminalize and/or punish bad thoughts?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
If the defendant knew or should have known that a victim of the offense was a vulnerable victim, increase by 2 levels.
Nearly anyone in a "gun free" state or zone should qualify under this...
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
The problem you will run into, however, is that as a class, red-heads haven’t historically been discriminated against.
It also occured to me that MK wants to punish someone for the sins of others in the past. If a person hates someone else because of bigotry, and that bigotry was practiced on a large scale in the past, then the current bigot must be punished more severely.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
This is an interesting post and the comments too. I can see bias applied as a mitigator or aggravator in the sentencing. Another aspect that I was looking for and it hasn’t been broached yet is who decides what is a bias crime? There are homocides currently being talked about in closed circles that involve blacks committing crimes and race is a primary factor. Yet you cannot get the mainstream media to talk about it or the law enforcement agencies to classify it as a hate crime. Perhaps that, in itself, should be a bias crime. Do you think the recent spate of Islamic shootings in malls, running down pedestrians, etc, is a hate crime. You can’t even get the mainstream press to id the perps as Muslim.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
Sure you can. It is more serious because, historically, gay people have a history of being harmed or killed simply because they are gay. There is no such historical record when it comes to red headed people.
So now we’re going to punish people in the present for the irrational hatred of the past, and establish by law that certain reasons for hating each other are more acceptable than others. You people are nuts.
But you know that someone is attempting to cover up a crime only by looking into his thoughts. In other words, in such a case, the jury is being asked to reach a conclusion as to why the killer killed, not simply that he intended to bring about a death.
The difference between your example and what we’re talking about is that in the case of a hate crime only one action has been committed: the killing. In the case of the cover up two crimes were committed: the attempted cover up and the killing. The cover up is still a crime even if the killing doesn’t take place. The killing is still a crime even without the cover up. The jury is being asked to decide if both of the acts were committed. Establishing intent is part of establishing that any crime has been committed, but intent itself is not the crime.

Thank you JWG, I see you got here first.
Care to try again?
Look everyone, snarkiness.
You can’t argue to the contrary and expect to be taken seriously. Remind me once again why it is illegal for employers to fire white workers solely for being white, but legal for employers to fire redheads solely for being redheads? Oh yeah, the Jim Crow Act of 1964, of course.
So your position is that irrational hatred of people with red hair is more justifiable than irrational hatred of white people? You’re not going to bait me into defending a position with which I do not agree, or biting at your cute little false dilemma, but I will go on record as saying that if there are going to be laws which protect people from unjust firing, they must apply to all people equally. The red head and the white guy have equally strong cases.
As the statute makes clear, the focus is on what the murder’s effort was. If you were correct, the statute would simply read that that the murder was committed following the commission of a different crime. But it doesn’t say that. It says "in an effort to." And that language goes straight to the issue of motive.
But there is still an action involved. An event. A thing which took place. “An effort to conceal the commission of a crime”, is a thing which took place and which had an effect, or was intended to have an effect which was different than the effect of the killing alone. The results, or intended results, of killing a person because I hate them and killing a person for another reason, or for no reason, are the same. The person is dead. I killed him. I intended to kill them. Those are the elements of the crime. The source of my intent is irrelevant. If I also commit another crime—the cover up, or torture, or robbery, or rape—in the process that adds to the seriousness.
“I’m not. The legislature is. And no, recognizing that persons of certain races or of a sexual orientation have historically been discriminated against is not racism. It is simply examining the historical record”.
Yes, yes it is. Regardless of who does it, or how they rationalize doing it, it is racism and bigotry. And it is illegal for government to do it.
Would it be ok to fire your wife or daughther from a job because she is a woman? Or because she is black? Would it be ok to fire you from a job because of your relgious beliefs?

Would it be okay to fire you because of your hair color?
Next question.
You should feel quite at liberty, perhaps even encouraged, to discontinue your practice of ending each post with an expression of misplaced arrogance.
Another aspect that I was looking for and it hasn’t been broached yet is who decides what is a bias crime?


MK, apparently, based on his interpretation of history.
 
Written By: Vermin
URL: http://
Here’s a better question: Would it be ok to fire your wife or daughther from a job because she is a woman? Or because she is black? Would it be ok to fire you from a job because of your relgious beliefs?
As the law currently stands, no. But ideally it should be perfectly legal. There I go with my quaint notions of free association and all that. Hell, this comment is probably illegal in some parts of Europe and will eventually be in the U.S. Thanks fascist lefties!
 
Written By: Jordan
URL: http://
Wow - MK returns. It’s been a while MK and can you believe I was kinda missing you? I guess I’m just a sucker like that.

You misunderstand hate laws. The penalty isn’t higher because the person killed was black. The penalty is higher because the person was killed because the person was black.
You misunderstand looker’s point. The end result is the same for the victim, so why is the sentence possibly different?
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
The penalty is higher because the person was killed because the person was black.
Again, we can come up with a whole lot of examples:

The person was killed because:
1) he was black/gay/etc
2) he was carrying $20,000 in cash
3) he slept with someone else’s girlfriend
4) he wouldn’t pay his debt
5) he snitched
6) he was a rival
7) he dishonored the family

All of these are potential premeditated motivations for the intent to murder.

One is considered more serious than the others.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Someone mentioned that self-defense is used as a defense in murder trials. Examine the murder laws, however, and you’ll find that this defense is again based on intent, not motivation. When defending oneself, one is not not meeting the requirements of intent stated in murder law (e.g., malice aforethought or premeditation). The intent of a person defending himself must be found to be the defense of himself, and only incidentally whatever harm happens to come of his assailant.
-=-=-=-=-
Xrlq -
Brian [sic - for future reference, mind the ’y’ :)] Pick:
Again, why? What is accomplished by punishment according to supposed motive rather than limiting inquiry to intent and deed?
Justice. What on earth would be accomplished by deliberately ignoring the totality of the circumstances in which a crime is committed?
Impartiality to matters outside the state’s competence or constitutional prerogative, for one. You have asserted that the state accomplishes justice by punishment according to supposed motive, but you haven’t provided evidence that this is true. Connect the dots for us, please.

Is your argument that (1) justice, however defined, is accomplished by punishing those who are more likely to commit such crimes in the future, (2) justice is accomplished by punishing hate crimes, which cause more harms than the same crime motivated by other factors, or (3) something else entirely?

If it is the first, then why lay out specific factors like race, creed, or disability? There are many kinds of motivation that will consistently encourage crime against particular people; perhaps against the old, the poor, the rich, the ugly, the desperate, people living in a different part of the city or country, people who hold particular kinds of employment, or people of an opposing political group. Any motivation that is likely to stay with a perpetrator would seem to yield the same punishment by this principle.

If it is the second, why do crimes motivated by a particular factor cause more harm than any other crime of the same kind?
 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net
The penalty isn’t higher because the person killed was black. The penalty is higher because the person was killed because the person was black.
And that’s okay with you, because, as everyone has pointed out, historically more black people were killed for being black 40+ years ago?
How far back into history do we go? - are you so sure people weren’t killed for
being red-headed? Would you bet your next year’s salary on that?

How far forward are you willing to go before ’hate crimes’ don’t need to cover Blacks (for example) but DO start covering purple left handed martians?
How often do we review that?

This isn’t about additional sentencing, this is about being a crime.

What if I really did shoot a black dude for his sneakers and not his color, but I just DO happen to be a white guy who’s mumbled things in the past about blacks, and from there the the state sets out to convince the jury that it WAS about the guy being black because he wants to make sure I go up forever and can get that to happen by adding the hate crime to the mix.

To be tried for a hate crime in a murder trial, I have to have been CHARGED with a hate crime ahead of time, which means the DA had to, presumably, conclude that I was a racist so he could get the charge made before my grand jury trial.
You’re acting like they pull the hate crime out of their butts during a regular trial for murder.
What that means is they ought to done extensive checking on me before they charged me with a hate crime.

In light of that contention, would you care to discuss the way the Duke rape case proceeded?

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Bryan: criminal law, including sentencing, is usually considered to have multiple goals, which include:

general deterrence (deter everyone from committing that crime);
specific deterrence (deter the defendant from committing any future crime);
incapacitation (prevent the defendant from committing a crime for the specified period of incarceration);
preemption of revenge;
retribution; and
rehabilitation.

Now, I agree that most politicians don’t know what they’re talking about and will vote for anything that allows them to appear tough on crime. However, the theoretical basis for hate crime legislation is to enhance general deterrence.

Many minority groups have perceived and continue to perceive (rightly or wrongly) that their minority status results in (a) more crimes being committed against them simply due to their minority status; and (b) weaker prosecutions of the defendants. By creating creating a new hate crime or by creating a hate sentencing enhancement for the commission of a crime, the legislature sends a message to prosecutors and police that the State desires that law enforcement do more to protect the targeted minority.

Are hate crime laws effective? On a purely penological level, my understanding is that the evidence is very weak. On a political level, however, hate crime legislation is one way that a minority group can start exercising its political clout and perceiving that they are part of the system.

Do we want the judiciary invalidating hate crime laws? Neither the federal Constitution nor the (one) State constitution (that I’m familiar with) provide the grounds for invalidating stupid or ineffective laws. The Equal Protection clause could provide a handle, but conservatives and libertarians usually tend to read the EP clause pretty narrowly, because they dislike the consequences of an aggressive interpretation (like allowing for affirmative action programs).

 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
On a political level, however, hate crime legislation is one way that a minority group can start exercising its political clout and perceiving that they are part of the system.
Francis, it doesn’t give them any more political clout than they ever had.
What it does is pander to them so a politician can keep or get a job (like, say, Mike Nifong).

Now, as to perceiving they are part of the system, that may be another story.
But what you’re telling me you think it’s okay for us to pass laws to make them feel specially included whereas the rest of us have to settle for the plain old laws for everyone else.

Used to be oppressed groups wanted to just be treated properly under the same laws as the rest of us.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
So, if a black man kills a white man, because he is white, is that a hate crime?

Does the black man deserve a longer sentence?

Of course, I think the sentence for murder should be the death penalty, so how do you get a harsher sentence?
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
looker:

my wife is a public defender (a criminal defense attorney paid by the County of Los Angeles). My personal view is that hate crime laws are unnecessary, inconsistently applied and frequently abused by prosecutors who overcharge a crime in order to force a plea bargain.

but my personal view has nothing to do with the legal merits or political desire to enact hate crime laws.

(Not that there’s any such thing as the monolithic "Left" or even "liberals", but hate crime laws is one area where you’ll find substantial disagreement among people who call themself liberal.)
 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
mkultra, "If you want to present evidence at a hearing before a legislature that red-heads, as a class, have historically been discriminated against..."

No.

Because a "hate crime" requiring protected classes of previously discriminated against persons is *wrong*. It’s fundamentally opposed to liberty and equality.

Now, you want to fundamentally oppose liberty and equality, fine. Do that.

But don’t pretend that you are not.

If you want laws that take into account "hate" toward the victim then it needs to apply in every case that someone "hates" them for their genetics or ideology, for who they are.

Which means, as unlikely as it might be, that if someone’s motivation is that they really hate red heads, then the law needs to cover that right along with motivation of hating blacks or jews or anyone else. The laws needs to be written so that it applies to all citizens equally.

If it doesn’t then we’ve got institutionalized inequality and we should oppose it.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
If I understand the foregoing arguments correctly, the killer is to be punished more severely for possessing hatred in his heart. Why are we making laws that list acceptable targets of hatred?

If I am ever murdered, you can bet your bottom dollar that the most likely killer will be my little sister, who has been consumed with hatred for me since childhood. Over the years, she has wrought incalculable harm (both emotional and economic) to many persons in our family purely because she is acting out her hatred for me. No one could hate a black person or a gay person or a red-haired person more than she hates me. This despite the fact that I have avoided all contact with her for more than a quarter of a century and cannot possibly be doing anything to perpetuate or provoke these feelings of aggravated ill will (unlike during our school years, when I was the A student and she the dunderhead who followed along a year behind and had to hear "what a difference" from all my former teachers; horrible me).

When she goes on trial for my murder, why shouldn’t she be charged with a hate crime?
 
Written By: pa
URL: http://
Question: Rich people were historically persecuted in the communist world. If a killer coming from one of those countries immigrated to the US, showed a hatred for rich people, and then killed some, would that be a hate crime?

Say a black person immigrated from Zimbabwe where there has been historical persecution of white farmers, shows he hates whites, and then he kills a white farmer in Iowa, is that a hate crime?

How about Tutsi/Hutu?

What about a Dalit killing a upper caste Indian in the USA?

I am just curious how strange cases like these will fly. And, yeah, I think there will eventually be situations like this.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
What about the unintended consequences? Will all this come to a stop when African Americans are again more severely sentenced when their victim is white? Or will this whole house of cards come down once enough criminals go free because evidentiary requirements to establish motive are more difficult to obtain than the evidence needed to demonstrate plain old second degree murder? Which in turn brings up another question: what do these laws do to double jeopardy? Will the government essentially be able to try denfendents twice for the same crime? Will these laws essentially transform themselves in practice into a Mulligan for prosecutors?

Hate crime laws, however parsed, amount to a step away from the ideal of equality before the law whether intended as such or not. And I submit, my friends, that this is the wrong direction for our society to take.

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: peter jackson
URL: www.liberalcapitalist.com
I don’t think sentences should be higher because of the victim’s race. I do, however, think that there should be additional penalties if a criminal is committing crimes with the intent of terrorizing a community. For instance, if a white man beats up a black man in order to steal his wallet, there should not be additional penalties. If a white man beats up a black man in order to send a message that black people aren’t welcome in that neighborhood, there should be.
 
Written By: Dustin Vines
URL: http://
Bryan (minding the Y this time, sorry):
Impartiality to matters outside the state’s competence or constitutional prerogative, for one.
Not sure what you mean by "constitutional prerogative." My copy of the Constitution says nothing about what factors states (or, where it has jurisdiction, the federal government) should or should not take into account in determining which conduct they should define as crimes, or which factors should aggregate or mitigate them.
You have asserted that the state accomplishes justice by punishment according to supposed motive, but you haven’t provided evidence that this is true. Connect the dots for us, please.
What’s to connect? Most of us see a moral distinction between what O.J. did to Ronald Goldman and Fred Goldman returning the favor. If he did, it would still be murder in anybody’s book, and I guess worthy of the same exact sentence in yours. Not mine. Any form of "justice" that equates a murder motivated by "he killed my son" with one motivated by "I was bored, and wanted to kill me a Nigra" is no justice at all. It’s blind "justice" for blindness’s sake.
Is your argument that (1) justice, however defined, is accomplished by punishing those who are more likely to commit such crimes in the future, (2) justice is accomplished by punishing hate crimes, which cause more harms than the same crime motivated by other factors, or (3) something else entirely?
Likelihood of future offenses is one factor, but not one I’m focusing on. What I am focusing on is degree of moral culpability. Murdering someone because he’s black and you’re bored is wrong, and murdering someone because he did something really bad to you (but didn’t place your life in imminent danger, etc.) is also wrong. I just don’t think they are equally wrong, and any law that pretends otherwise is a ass. None of this should be construed as an endorsement of hate crime laws, BTW. I’m rather torn on that issue, though I do understand the argument that a racially motivated crime is a regular crime + a threat against a segment of the community, as opposed to the bare crime against that individual. I think there are good arguments for and against hate crime laws, I just don’t see how one can intelligently debate the merits of government taking into account this motive in particular without first conceding that it is proper to take into account motives in general.
 
Written By: Xrlq
URL: http://xrlq.com/
I do understand the argument that a racially motivated crime is a regular crime + a threat against a segment of the community, as opposed to the bare crime against that individual.
Compare & Contrast the following scenarios of this "bored" group:
1) always talking about how they hate rich people — decide to beat one up for fun.
2) always talking about how they hate the homeless — decide to beat one up for fun.
3) always talking about how they hate black people — decide to beat one up for fun.

or how about...

1) A group of housewives whose husbands have been caught frequenting prostitutes. The wives have been getting together and commiserating for a while. Among other things, they have been angrily criticizing women who prostitute themselves. Later, one of them goes out and beats up a prostitute.

2) A man hates prostitutes (but not women in general) and has voiced his hatred a lot. He beats one up.

3) A man hates [ethnic group of your choice] and has voiced his hatred a lot. He beats one up.

Why is any one of these crimes morally worse than any other?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://

 
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