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Are Hate Crime Enhancements Used Equitably in the USA?

Captain Adverse

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I was browsing a thread on Paula Dean and the "N" word when a series of questions came to mind about our views on racism in the U.S.A.

I have seen many examples in criminal trials around the nation of “hate crime” enhancements alleging a white defendant’s use of the word “nigger” during the criminal act amounted to a need for additional punishments as a racial hate crime. But..:

Has anyone ever seen “hate crime” enhancements used on a Black defendant for using racial epithets against a victim of another race?

Or a member of another faith against a Christian church?

Or a member of a “democratic” political party against a communist, socialist, or fascist party member?

Is it only a “hate crime” when the victim is a member of a certain class or a minority or is there any evidence it is used equitably for all citizens, faiths, and political groups?

Any examples and your thoughts on the matter?
 

Unrein

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I was browsing a thread on Paula Dean and the "N" word when a series of questions came to mind about our views on racism in the U.S.A.

I have seen many examples in criminal trials around the nation of “hate crime” enhancements alleging a white defendant’s use of the word “nigger” during the criminal act amounted to a need for additional punishments as a racial hate crime. But..:

Has anyone ever seen “hate crime” enhancements used on a Black defendant for using racial epithets against a victim of another race?

Or a member of another faith against a Christian church?

Or a member of a “democratic” political party against a communist, socialist, or fascist party member?

Is it only a “hate crime” when the victim is a member of a certain class or a minority or is there any evidence it is used equitably for all citizens, faiths, and political groups?

Any examples and your thoughts on the matter?
My view is a hate crime is, or ought to be, when an action or words disseminated are menacing or threatening to an entire group or class of people. It's effectively a crime in the way threatening someone is a crime, except you are committing it toward a large group of people. That, and only that, should be punishable by law with that criteria met, by my standards anyway.
 

YoungConserv

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Why do we need to punish people for what's in their heads and not just the crime itself?
 

Captain Adverse

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Why do we need to punish people for what's in their heads and not just the crime itself?
Good point. Unfortunately we do though, and my question is essentially trying to fnd out if people think it's fair for this to be the case. If so why, and then are they being used fairly in our criminal justice system?
 

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Why do we need to punish people for what's in their heads and not just the crime itself?
Agreed. We need to do away with hate crime legislation entirely. If you commit a crime, you should be punished for it, it shouldn't be made worse by an additional thought crime.
 

Unrein

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Agreed. We need to do away with hate crime legislation entirely. If you commit a crime, you should be punished for it, it shouldn't be made worse by an additional thought crime.
Should there be no difference between manslaughter and murder? Intention is purely in the head, yet that alone for a lot of people, looking at the same physical occurrence where the only difference is intention, would see a very different punishment to be appropriate.

If someone ran over someone with a car, it makes a huge difference arguably whether they did it on purpose or on accident, so much so that it's the determining factor between manslaughter and murder.
 

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According to the FBI's 2011 Hate Crime Statistics, 59 percent of the 5,731 known offenders were white and 20.9 percent were black and blacks are equally capable of committing hate crimes as whites. It's harder to find specific examples of hate crimes committed by African Americans but a black teenager was charged with a hate crime last year for beating a white teenager in Chicago and Chad Washington, a Columbia University football player, was charged with a hate crime after he allegedly threatened an Asian student and called him racial slurs in May.

A black Chicago-area teenager has been charged with a hate crime for allegedly beating a 19-year-old white youth during a robbery because he was angry about the killing of Trayvon Martin, the Chicago Tribune reports. Alton Hayes, 18, of Oak Park, was charged with attempted robbery and aggravated battery along with a hate crime, the Cook County state's attorney office said. He is being held on $80,000 bail.
Black Ill. teen accused of beating white youth over Trayvon
Chad Washington was charged with misdemeanor aggravated harassment as a hate crime. Police say the 19-year-old defensive lineman followed the victim from his dorm room, grabbed him by the collar, yelled racial slurs and threatened to beat him up. Washington was arraigned Wednesday and released without bail. His attorney, Daniel Fetterman, says the allegations don't accurately reflect the events. The victim is of Asian descent. Washington is black.
http://msn.foxsports.com/collegefootball/story/columbia-university-football-player-charged-with-hate-crime-050813
 
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Aunt Spiker

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Why do we need to punish people for what's in their heads and not just the crime itself?
Yeah - I don't support hate crime . . . if you beat someone to death - that's just as bad as it gets . . . why you did it (more so - what you said while you did it) doesn't alter how bad that is, doesn't make it worse. . . yet it negates the suffering that someone else went through when the perpetrator of a crime against them was given a lesser punishment as a result.

All one has to do is not say anything - and still have ___ as motivation.
 

ttwtt78640

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Should there be no difference between manslaughter and murder? Intention is purely in the head, yet that alone for a lot of people, looking at the same physical occurrence where the only difference is intention, would see a very different punishment to be appropriate.

If someone ran over someone with a car, it makes a huge difference arguably whether they did it on purpose or on accident, so much so that it's the determining factor between manslaughter and murder.
Your analogy is not valid. Criminal intent and preplanning is what makes the separation in the "classes" of murder. There are not any levels based on what that specific intent was. Killing for money/hire, to silence a witness or to exact revenge for some perceived wrong makes no difference - you either planned the act in advance with a specific victim in mind (first degree murder), intended to kill a specific person but did not plan to do so in advance (second degree murder) or your actions caused the death of an unintended person (manslaughter).

A better murder/manslaughter analogy would be the use of special circumstances to alter the crime of manslaughter to either first or second degree murder. Many states do this now for DUI/DWI traffic deaths, causing someone's death while committing certain other crimes (felony murder) or the killing of a police officer even as a result of fleeing a crime scene and the officer chasing you dies in a car crash.
 
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I was browsing a thread on Paula Dean and the "N" word when a series of questions came to mind about our views on racism in the U.S.A.

I have seen many examples in criminal trials around the nation of “hate crime” enhancements alleging a white defendant’s use of the word “nigger” during the criminal act amounted to a need for additional punishments as a racial hate crime. But..:

Has anyone ever seen “hate crime” enhancements used on a Black defendant for using racial epithets against a victim of another race?

Or a member of another faith against a Christian church?

Or a member of a “democratic” political party against a communist, socialist, or fascist party member?

Is it only a “hate crime” when the victim is a member of a certain class or a minority or is there any evidence it is used equitably for all citizens, faiths, and political groups?

Any examples and your thoughts on the matter?
There are none.
 

ttwtt78640

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I am not sure of the validity of using victim class (race, sexual orientation, ethnicity or religion) alone as an enhancement for the charge/sentence. I like the idea of using the likelyhood of future crimes (victims) in setting that sentencing bar higher, the basic intent/motive. But why limit it to the class of victim selected based only on those "hate" factors? One that commits robbery/forcable rape, for example, has shown that their greed/desire for power/control threatens the safety of a far larger pool of society (potential future victims) than one that selects their victims based on a much narrower pool of "hated" individuals.
 

GottaGo

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Labeling something as a 'hate crime' is to make one group more important than another, that their death or harm was worth more than someone else's.

It doesn't change what has been done, if a person is dead, they are dead, regardless of 'intention'. It doesn't matter what was said, racial or otherwise, someone is dead or harmed, and that is the key.

It doesn't act as a deterrent to label it as such, and someone who verbalizes during the crime is no more and no less guilty than someone who doesn't.
 

ttwtt78640

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Because intent matters in crime.
But it matters mostly because that indicates the likelyhood of repeating the offense. Who is included in your "future victim pool" is not nearly as important as the fact that one exists. If you murder someone that has been repeatedly harming you for years (even decades) that is far less of a problem for society in general than a crime involving the willingness to rob/rape a stranger, yet we sentence the murderer much more harshly without regard to whether a repeat offense is at all likely.
 
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Labeling something as a 'hate crime' is to make one group more important than another, that their death or harm was worth more than someone else's.

It doesn't change what has been done, if a person is dead, they are dead, regardless of 'intention'. It doesn't matter what was said, racial or otherwise, someone is dead or harmed, and that is the key.

It doesn't act as a deterrent to label it as such, and someone who verbalizes during the crime is no more and no less guilty than someone who doesn't.
Someone who targets a specific group to terrorize is a special problem for society.
 

GottaGo

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Someone who targets a specific group to terrorize is a special problem for society.
It still doesn't change the outcome, be it because they 'hate' someone, have a mental illness, or you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Why should one be 'worth more' than the other?
 
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It still doesn't change the outcome, be it because they 'hate' someone, have a mental illness, or you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Why should one be 'worth more' than the other?
They are not. Also not all crimes get the same sentence.

Terrorists should get harsher senten2.
 

GottaGo

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They are not. Also not all crimes get the same sentence.

Terrorists should get harsher senten2.
Then to make the penalty harsher for one ad not the other, says that one was worth more than the other.

Do you truly think it matters to someone who's life has been taken from them as to the why of it? It's not a deterrent, and IMO, it's a feel good policy to sell to groups that they are being watched out for.

The phrase 'terrorist' is grossly overused and has lost it's value, IMO, just as the word 'hero' has.
 

Captain Adverse

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Labeling something as a 'hate crime' is to make one group more important than another, that their death or harm was worth more than someone else's.
It might appear that way to some, especially since enhancements were originally initiated to inhibit shooting police officers in the performance of their duties. At the time it was felt that since they risked their lives as part of the job they deserved special consideration when it came to sentencing any criminal who killed one. I recall being fairly upset as a youth when I heard about this because I thought the same thing, that police were somehow considered more important that us common folk.

However, that was not the motivation for hate crime enhancements if memory serves. These came about because hate groups were intentionally targeting innocent members of minority race, religious, and sexual preference groups for attack. There were church and temple burnings and defilements, assaults and battery, lynchings and murders solely because the targets were hated and for no other reason. But that is not so prevalent these days (or is it?).

It doesn't change what has been done, if a person is dead, they are dead, regardless of 'intention'. It doesn't matter what was said, racial or otherwise, someone is dead or harmed, and that is the key.

It doesn't act as a deterrent to label it as such, and someone who verbalizes during the crime is no more and no less guilty than someone who doesn't.
Are you certain? I mean there seems to be a definate difference between someone killed randomly during the commission of a crime or murdered for profit/revenge, and someone targeted simply because the attacker does not like their race, national origina, religion, or sexual preference. Or am I wrong?
 

ttwtt78640

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Someone who targets a specific group to terrorize is a special problem for society.
Wrong. Someone who targets a specific group to terrorize is a special problem for a specific group of society. What we can agree on is that they are quite apt to repeat that crime, based on the known motive for the crime. Why is knowing that a smaller segment of society is being placed at risk a cause for the sentence be enhanced? That makes no sense to me. The larger that the potential victim pool is then the larger the chance of a repeat offense is likely to be.
 

sangha

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I was browsing a thread on Paula Dean and the "N" word when a series of questions came to mind about our views on racism in the U.S.A.

I have seen many examples in criminal trials around the nation of “hate crime” enhancements alleging a white defendant’s use of the word “nigger” during the criminal act amounted to a need for additional punishments as a racial hate crime. But..:

Has anyone ever seen “hate crime” enhancements used on a Black defendant for using racial epithets against a victim of another race?

Or a member of another faith against a Christian church?

Or a member of a “democratic” political party against a communist, socialist, or fascist party member?

Is it only a “hate crime” when the victim is a member of a certain class or a minority or is there any evidence it is used equitably for all citizens, faiths, and political groups?

Any examples and your thoughts on the matter?
Yes, no, no and no

Hate crimes apply to any crime where the circumstances indicate that the crime was motivated by hostility to members of a group based on certain characteristics like gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc. It doesn't matter if the group is a majority or a minority.

Black people can be, and have been, convicted of hate crimes
 

GottaGo

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It might appear that way to some, especially since enhancements were originally initiated to inhibit shooting police officers in the performance of their duties. At the time it was felt that since they risked their lives as part of the job they deserved special consideration when it came to sentencing any criminal who killed one. I recall being fairly upset as a youth when I heard about this because I thought the same thing, that police were somehow considered more important that us common folk.

However, that was not the motivation for hate crime enhancements if memory serves. These came about because hate groups were intentionally targeting innocent members of minority race, religious, and sexual preference groups for attack. There were church and temple burnings and defilements, assaults and battery, lynchings and murders solely because the targets were hated and for no other reason. But that is not so prevalent these days (or is it?).
So, then 'everybody' is a special group and should be treated as such, therefore making all equal. People don't commit a crime without some intention, be it momentary or well planned. If they happen to kill someone during that crime, regardless of intention, they are still dead, yes?


Are you certain? I mean there seems to be a definate difference between someone killed randomly during the commission of a crime or murdered for profit/revenge, and someone targeted simply because the attacker does not like their race, national origina, religion, or sexual preference. Or am I wrong?
No, IMO there is no difference. A life has been taken, and all lives as such have a value, and one is not worth more than another. It matters not if they died because of race, gender, sexual orientation, or because their eyes were blue.

You are not 'wrong', you just have a different view of it. :wink:
 

sangha

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Your analogy is not valid. Criminal intent and preplanning is what makes the separation in the "classes" of murder.
And intent is what distinguishes a hate crime from a non-hate crime.

Pre-planning is irrelevant. Pre-planning is not necessary to sustain a murder a charge

There are not any levels based on what that specific intent was. Killing for money/hire, to silence a witness or to exact revenge for some perceived wrong makes no difference - you either planned the act in advance with a specific victim in mind (first degree murder), intended to kill a specific person but did not plan to do so in advance (second degree murder) or your actions caused the death of an unintended person (manslaughter).
Absolutely wrong. The law certainly does distinguish between the various type of murders you mention, and applies different charges and sentences based on that difference
 

sangha

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I am not sure of the validity of using victim class (race, sexual orientation, ethnicity or religion) alone as an enhancement for the charge/sentence.
Then it's a good thing that the victims class is not the only requirement for charging someone with a hate crime
 
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