January 7th, 2017

Should “hate” be a separate category of crime?

I often cross-post at the blog Legal Insurrection, but most of the time my posts there are just slightly-edited versions of posts here.

However, today I have a post up at LI which is related to one I wrote here recently on the topic of the torture of a mentally disabled white man in Chicago, but is a substantial expansion on it. So I’m calling your attention to this post I wrote at Legal Insurrection on the subject of how the charge “hate crime” relates to the recent incident, plus some of the history of the “hate crime” offense, and a discussion of whether “hate crime” should be a separate category of crime.

Feel free to comment here, there, or at both places.

6 Responses to “Should “hate” be a separate category of crime?”

  1. Sam L. Says:

    I do not like “hate” crimes. Do they make the actual crime worse? I think not.

    The problem I have with it is the yearning to define some crimes as hate crimes, and others not hate crimes, based solely on the skin color of the victim(s) and the skin color of the perpetrator(s). Or the religions of both.

    I do not trust the media to determine that definition.

  2. Michael Adams Says:

    No. Murder is murder. I suppose people kill loved ones, but, at the moment of the deed, they hated the victim, or, it would not be murder. Thye same or worse could be said for kidnapping, torture, etc. To apply the statute fairly, the jury is required to read the mind of the accused. This runs counter to a thousand years of Anglo-Saxon law. Yes, we have intentional an unintentional actions, and we also have specified evidenciary criteria for determining them. So, for example, Hillary met the requirements to show intent, in the E-mail and server scandals, which specifically did not require evidence of intent.Simply doing the convoluted scheme she carried out was enough, without separate evidence of intent. When was the last time anyone kidnapped and tortured someone whom they did not hate? It’s just a silly distinction, mostly about virtue signaling.

  3. Cornhead Says:

    Try repealing a hate crime statute and see the backlash. Hate crimes are now part of law and society. That’s how Progressives work. It will be tough to rollback all of the Green agenda for that very reason. I heard the other day that the State of California has a crazy mandate for emission free cars; something like 25% by 2025. That drives the whole manufacturing schedule for all of the car manufacturers because the California market is so big.

  4. Richard Aubrey Says:

    “hate” is an enhancement to sentencing for an act which is already a crime.
    When the death penalty is the punishment, it’s kind of moot.
    My problem is the cellmate testimony. In return for a bag of Double Cheese Whoppers, he tells the court that the defendant said he did it because he hated the victims due to their membership in a protected class. There are already enough opportunities for prosecutors to suborn perjury along with withholding exculpatory evidence.
    Personally, I’d like to see an enhancement for the category “they really like to do that stuff.”

  5. SCOTTtheBADGER Says:

    Punishing people for what they think is wrong. People are punished for what they do. When you enhance punishment for the thoughts behind it, how log until the thought itself becomes a crime. I, for one, do not want an American Thought Police.

  6. J.L. Says:

    This is a good topic, because there is a lot confusion regarding “hate crimes” laws. The confusion is that “hate crimes” laws are often conflated with “hate speech” laws, such as you find in other countries. I’m not saying I agree with either (in fact I strongly oppose “hate speech” laws, and am mixed about “hate crimes” laws), just that they are different.

    “Hate speech” laws prohibit speech that offends certain groups. This is an outright prohibition of speech, and does indeed “punish people for what they think.” (I absolutely oppose these.)

    “Hate Crime” laws are exactly as described by Richard Aubrey. They are “an enhancement to sentencing for an act which is already a crime.”

    Note that such enhancements already existed in criminal law before “hate crimes” laws came into being. A sentence could be enhanced, for example, for a crime that was, say, more “atrocious” or “cruel.” This was done pursuant to criminal statutes which allow this, and are applied upon sentencing.

    “Hate Crimes” statutes provide for the enhancement of a sentence if one has committed a crime with hateful intent. This does require a court to interpret a person’s mindset, but then again, a trial court is already empowered to do that in a criminal context. For example, in a criminal trial, a court (jury or judge) is entitled to determine a defendant’s “state of mind,” to determine if they had the requisite intent to commit a particular offense. A court must, for example, find a defendant had “malice aforethought” before they are found guilty of First Degree Murder.

    In the same way, a “Hate Crimes” statute would permit a court to enhance the sentence of someone already found guilty if they are found to have done the crime with hateful intent.

    In any case, I am not supporting it. I’m actually mixed regarding this. As Richard Aubrey correctly points out, there is the possibility for this to be abused. I am not sure, in any case, if I want the courts to apply to much “interpretation” to a person’s thoughts, even though they already do that. I’m not sure I want them to have even greater power to do that. Still considering it.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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