Sunday, April 1, 2012

Thinking about hate crimes

If a man brutally robs and beats a person of the same sex, race, sexual orientation, and religion should he get a lesser sentence than if the victim is of a different sex, race, sexual orientation, or religion. If while committing the brutal beating he calls the victim a "Jew" or "nigger" or "queer" or 'honky' or "bitch" or "spic" should he get an additional ten years added to the sentence?

Why should one victim be deemed more worthy of greater protection than another based on the motive of the perpetrator of the crime. We are not talking about not providing greater protection to the weak, such as children or women or the elderly, but providing greater protection to a victim simply based on the motive of the criminal.   

Hate crimes are criminal acts motivated by bigotry or bias. Often classifying a crime as a "hate crime" adds an automatic additional sentence. An additional ten years is typical. Another way of expressing the same thing is to say if the crime is committed by an “unbiased” person motivated by greed, or lust or pure unadulterated evil, then that person gets a ten year lesser sentence because at least he isn't  prejudice. 

It is my view that thoughts and attitudes should not be punished; actions should be punished. Below are three separate recent incidents where the crime was an alleged "hate crime."  Is there any logic to why these crimes should be considered worse crimes because they were supposedly motivated by bias or prejudice?

Three Occupy Oakland protesters charged with hate crimes

(Reuters) - Three Occupy Oakland protesters accused of surrounding and taunting a woman before stealing her wallet were charged on Friday with robbery and hate crimes, authorities said.

Michael Davis, 32, Nneka Crawford, 23, and Randolph Wilkins, 24, confronted the woman on the streets of Oakland in February after she told them not to riot in her neighborhood, the Oakland Police said in a written release.

"She was surrounded by three protestors and battered as they yelled vulgar epithets regarding their perception of her sexual orientation," Oakland Police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said. read more



New York Reverse Mortgage Scam Charged as Hate Crime

Mar 07, 2012 04:18 pm | Elizabeth Ecker

A reverse mortgage fraud scheme directed toward a 81-year-old Brooklyn, New York man will be charged as a hate crime for targeting an elderly victim, Kings County District Court announced today. Sal Lauria and an accomplice were charged with grand larceny ...
read more 
Lawyer: Lesbians’ assault on gay man can’t be hate 
By Richard Weir, Boston Herald 

Three women identified by their lawyers as lesbians were arraigned yesterday on a hate crime charge for allegedly beating a gay man at the Forest Hills T station in an unusual case that experts say exposes the law’s flawed logic “My guess is that no sane jury would convict them under those circumstances, but what this really demonstrates is the idiocy of the hate-crime legislation,” said civil liberties lawyer Harvey Silverglate. “If you beat someone up, you’re guilty of assault and battery of a human being. Period. The idea of trying to break down human beings into categories is doomed to failure.” read more

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