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Old 02-27-2018, 04:27 AM
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Default Hate Crimes Are Thought Crimes



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Let’s not make this easy. Early in the morning of March 3, 1992, after a long discussion of their racial resentments, John Ayers and Sean Riley set out from their suburban neighborhood of Silver Spring, Maryland, looking for black people to attack. They came upon two black women walking along Georgia Avenue; realizing they were being followed, the women began to run, and split up. Riley chased Myrtle Guillory, and Ayers chased Johnnie Mae McCrae. Guillory testified at trial that Riley yelled repeatedly, “I’m going to kill you, you black bitch.” Guillory escaped when she ran to the home of a friend, who protected her. McCrae found no refuge. Ayers dragged her to a nearby woods, where he savagely beat her and told her that he was going to kill her.

Ayers was sentenced to ten years for assault with intent to maim, thirty years for kidnapping, ten years for committing a racially motivated crime against McCrae, and ten years for conspiracy to commit a racially motivated crime against Guillory; all sentences to be served consecutively, a total of sixty years.

Here’s the question before us. Does the hatred that motivated the crime—the thoughts that we can deduce were in Ayers’s head, the racial epithets that Riley spoke—make Ayers’s repulsive actions worse than they would be in the absence of bigotry? We can, of course, rightly condemn them as morally worse. But legally worse, subject to enhanced punishment? Ayers’s death threat can certainly be counted as part of his physical crime. Threats are against the law. Racial animus and racial epithets, however, are not in themselves illegal, and it was Riley, not Ayers, who expressed them. Does the state have a legitimate interest in what Ayers was thinking when he brutalized his victim?

The question touches on two very different ideas about the purpose of the criminal law. Is it to keep antisocial conduct in check, thus making it possible for human beings to live together and go about their business in reasonable comity, if not amity? Or is it to make people better—to make society better?

For libertarians across the political spectrum, the idea that courts can weigh the thought, belief, or emotional affect behind an act is chilling. Hate itself counts for nothing in American law. Violence counts for a lot. Hate paired with violence, under hate crimes laws, counts for even more: zero plus one is more than one. Like the neutrino, hate has no mass, but it changes things. In a free society it should be axiomatic that only action, never thought, can be subject to punishment.

ON OCTOBER 28, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. This law adds sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories .....
The law was named for the victims of two high-profile crimes. On October 6, 1998, Matthew Shepard, a twenty-one-year-old gay man,... They offered him a ride, and took him to an isolated area, where they robbed him, beat him, tied him to a fence in freezing weather, and left him to die. ...
Just four months earlier, James Byrd Jr., a black man, was walking home along a road in Jasper, Texas.... The three men beat Byrd, chained him to the truck, and dragged him to his death.
These two horrifying cases did much to bring hate crimes to public attention, and to communicate a sense of urgency about the need to use the law to fight hate.

One would think, then, that the prosecutions of the Shepard and Byrd murderers under existing laws were inadequate. But the prosecutions were exemplary....

Texas also had no hate crimes statute, and the NAACP and other activist groups gave then-governor George W. Bush a very hard time because he refused to endorse one in the wake of the Byrd murder. But Bush was vindicated by the criminal justice system. King and Brewer, who both had longstanding ties to white supremacist groups, received the death penalty. Berry will be in prison for the rest of his natural life. Apparently the jury concluded that Berry’s lack of white supremacist associations made him less of a future danger to society, and future danger is a requirement under Texas’s capital punishment law (in other words, it was not their thoughts that counted against King and Brewer; it was a holistic assessment of the actual danger they represented). One does not have to support the death penalty to believe that the Shepard and Byrd murderers deserved the maximum available punishment in law.

Justice was served for both Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, even though the law was not mandated to take account of the motivating beliefs of the perpetrators. As Laramie prosecutor Cal Rerucha told potential jurors in the Matthew Shepard case, “Whether black or white, rich or poor, Catholic or Protestant, whether we have power or no power, whether we are straight or whether we are gay, we are equal because the Wyoming constitution tells us we are equal.” The jury, and the court, found accordingly.

Do the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd prosecutions uphold or detract from the argument for hate crimes laws?

IN THE UNITED STATES, hate crimes laws—laws that mandate extra penalties when specific types of animosity are a part of criminal motivation—originate in a challenge to the authority of the state itself, and date to Reconstruction, when Night Riders and unrepentant rebels terrorized freed blacks. The first federal hate crimes laws were promulgated in 1870. Sections 241 and 242, 18 United States Code, are directed against conspiracies to deprive blacks of their rights to freedom and equal protection of the law under the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments. Section 242 specifically constrains law enforcement officials, prohibiting them from acting “under color of law” to target anyone on the basis of “being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race.” But they differ from modern hate crimes legislation in their primary focus on the deprivation of constitutional rights, rather than on the identity of the victim. Attacks on blacks were seen as a conspiracy against the Constitution. As indeed they were.

Hate crimes laws in the civil rights era maintained this focus. The Civil Rights Act of 1968 (18 USC 245), was passed in a time of surging violence against blacks seeking to exercise their constitutional rights, and against their white supporters. It enhanced penalties for crimes targeting individuals on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin, but only if the crimes occurred in the context of the victims’ engagement in six specified protected categories of activity. Broadly, these categories embraced any pursuit provided, required, or supported by government; any activity involving working; and traveling. The 2009 Hate Crimes Prevention Act removes these protected categories, previously required to define hate crime in federal law. This is something qualitatively new in federal jurisdiction.

This change is part of a shift in the concept of hate crimes that began when state laws began to address the issue. California was first, in 1978, with a law that recognized protected status in isolation from any protected activity. A hate crime was a crime on the basis of the victim’s identity, rather than on the victim’s equality under the law. California’s protected categories, evoking those of the early federal hate crimes statutes, were race, religion, color, and national origin. Subsequent laws in other states expanded these categories to include things such as age, marital status, and membership in certain types of organizations. While early state laws limited the types of crime for which prosecutors could request enhanced charges, there was a concurrent push to expand the categories of eligible crimes. By 1987, California legislation allowed prosecutors to consider hate crimes enhancement in charging any crime.

Enhanced sentences for hate crimes vary by jurisdiction, but can be quite significant under both state and federal law. The 1994 federal Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act mandated that U.S. sentencing guidelines raise the offense level for the underlying crime by three levels when the victim is targeted on the basis of a protected identity category. Vermont’s hate crimes law doubles the maximum prison term for violent crime if bias is involved. Wisconsin’s can add five years to a sentence.

HATE CRIMES LAWS are one approach to a real problem, but there are many ways that the law can respond to hate that manifests as violence without attempting to regulate opinion. ......

MORE at link..
https://www.dissentmagazine.org/arti...ethought-crime
Why Gary Johnson Opposes Hate-Crime Laws (and You Should Too)
If I throw a rock through your window, said Johnson, "I should be prosecuted on throwing the rock, not my thoughts that motivated me throwing the rock."
Why Gary Johnson Opposes Hate-Crime Laws (and You Should Too) - Hit & Run : Reason.com
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Old 02-27-2018, 06:46 AM
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Default Re: Hate Crimes Are Thought Crimes

By coloring crimes with supposed thoughts, people get to claim that a crime against a protected group is 'worth more' in punishment, then if a person happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

No person is worth more then another.
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Old 02-27-2018, 10:46 AM
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Post Re: Hate Crimes Are Thought Crimes

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr wonder View Post
Why Gary Johnson Opposes Hate-Crime Laws (and You Should Too)
If I throw a rock through your window, said Johnson, "I should be prosecuted on throwing the rock, not my thoughts that motivated me throwing the rock."
Why Gary Johnson Opposes Hate-Crime Laws (and You Should Too) - Hit & Run : Reason.com
The part where this all falls apart is the thoughts are not prosecuted.
The MOTIVE for a crime has always been something that is considered for the sentencing phase.

Are you guilty of throwing the rock? Yes.
If convicted, then the sentencing stage will consider a variety of factors regarding the crime to determine the punishment.

Hate crime legislation simply allows the people to specify to the judiciary these sentencing guidelines for motive.


Quote:
Originally Posted by GottaGo
By coloring crimes with supposed thoughts, people get to claim that a crime against a protected group is 'worth more' in punishment, then if a person happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
No person is worth more then another.
So does an assault against a police officer result in a higher punishment than an assault against another person?
Hint: The answer is yes.
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Old 02-27-2018, 10:54 AM
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Default Re: Hate Crimes Are Thought Crimes

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Originally Posted by foundit66 View Post
So does an assault against a police officer result in a higher punishment than an assault against another person?
Hint: The answer is yes.
So, the same should be applied to various people because they have a particular TRAIT? The answer is no.

Police are supposed to protect people, it is their job. It has nothing to do with their physical/mental traits, which is what the 'protected' groups are all about.

No person is worth more then another.
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Old 02-27-2018, 11:26 AM
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Default Re: Hate Crimes Are Thought Crimes

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Originally Posted by GottaGo View Post
So, the same should be applied to various people because they have a particular TRAIT? The answer is no.
People keep trying to reduce it to "people because they have a particular TRAIT".
That's an inaccurate assessment.

For example, hate crime laws cover race.
EVERYBODY HAS A RACE.

It's not the having of the race (or a specific race excluding others) which dictates it's a hate crime.
It's the motive.
If a white man is targeted because he is white, that can be a hate crime (pending judgment).
If a black man has a white man assault him because he wanted the parking space, that's not a hate crime.
The hate crime statistics run the gambit showing different races being victimized.

Even without hate crime laws, any judge on the bench can look at a lynching murder and decide it qualifies as more worthy of punishment than another killing.

Hate crime legislation provides citizenry input for sentencing guidelines on motive.


Quote:
Originally Posted by GottaGo View Post
Police are supposed to protect people, it is their job. It has nothing to do with their physical/mental traits, which is what the 'protected' groups are all about.
No person is worth more then another.
So it's okay to punish crimes against specific people more harshly than other crimes against other people, as long as you approve.
If you think that's an inaccurate assessment, then explain why it's false.

Traditionally, sentencing judges have considered a wide variety of factors in addition to evidence bearing on guilt in determining what sentence to impose on a convicted defendant. See Payne v. Tennessee, 501 U. S. ----, ---- (1991) (slip op., at 10); United States v. Tucker, 404 U.S. 443, 446 (1972); Williams v. New York, 337 U.S. 241, 246 (1949). The defendant's motive for committing the offense is one important factor. See 1 W. LeFave & A. Scott, Substantive Criminal Law § 3.6(b), p. 324 (1986) ("Motives are most relevant when the trial judge sets the defendant's sentence, and it is not uncommon for a defendant to receive a minimum sentence because he was acting with good motives, or a rather high sentence because of his bad motives"); cf. Tison v. Arizona, 481 U.S. 137, 156 (1987) ("Deeply ingrained in our legal tradition is the idea that the more purposeful is the criminal conduct, the more serious is the offense, and, therefore, the more severely it ought to be punished"). Thus, in many States the commission of a murder, or other capital offense, for pecuniary gain is a separate aggravating circumstance under the capital sentencing statute. See, e. g., Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-703(F)(5) (1989); Fla. Stat. § 921.1415(f) (Supp. 1992); Miss. Code Ann. § 99-19-101(5)(f) (Supp. 1992); N. C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-2000(e)(6) (1992); Wyo. Stat. § 6-2-102(h)(vi) (Supp. 1992).
https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/92-515.ZO.html
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Old 02-27-2018, 02:26 PM
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Default Re: Hate Crimes Are Thought Crimes

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Originally Posted by foundit66 View Post
The part where this all falls apart is the thoughts are not prosecuted.
The MOTIVE for a crime has always been something that is considered for the sentencing phase.

Are you guilty of throwing the rock? Yes.
If convicted, then the sentencing stage will consider a variety of factors regarding the crime to determine the punishment.

Hate crime legislation simply allows the people to specify to the judiciary these sentencing guidelines for motive.
A simple reading of the OP shows this to be absolutely false.
Ayers was charged with two crimes directly related to motive. He was found guilty and sentenced to ten years each for these charges. Motive was not just considered in the sentencing phase, it is the reason for two of the four charges he was found guilty of, had his motive been different he couldn't have been charged with those.

Hate crime legislation is a bad road we don't want to go down, it essentially says; Thoughts are not a crime until you act on them, then the act is a crime and the though becomes a crime.
Ask yourself this; why are hate crimes the only ones that require proof of motive?
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Old 02-27-2018, 03:09 PM
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Default Re: Hate Crimes Are Thought Crimes

seems to me the only fair questions concerning motives of a crime are.

Was it deliberate or intentional?
If so it that's taken into account, as apposed to the offense being an accident or negligence.

Was it planned as apposed to a "crime of passion"?
If planned then it's "premeditated".

Is/was the person mentality ill/disabled that did the crime?

The details of the negative thoughts around those issues aren't important to the prosecution or punishment beyond framing answers to those questions.

If a man planned to shoot his female neighbor becasue he doesn't like her dog crapping in his lawn Or because she's a Jew Or because she won't go out on a date with him.
The punishment shouldn't change.
The shooter did it with intent, premeditated and he was perfectly sane.
Seems pretty strait forward. more than that and it just becomes ...wrong IMO
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Old 02-27-2018, 03:59 PM
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Default Re: Hate Crimes Are Thought Crimes

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Originally Posted by mr wonder View Post
seems to me the only fair questions concerning motives of a crime are.

Was it deliberate or intentional?
If so it that's taken into account, as apposed to the offense being an accident or negligence.

Was it planned as apposed to a "crime of passion"?
If planned then it's "premeditated".

Is/was the person mentality ill/disabled that did the crime?
I agree these things should be taken into consideration and they are, however they are not motive.
Your first one is know as "intent" or "Mens Rea" and is a necessary part of prosecuting many violent crimes. "Motive" isn't needed to prove intent. The suspect intentionally punched him in the face, why he punched him in the face is motive and irrelevant except in hate crimes.
Your second one is "pre-meditation" and/or "malice aforethought" and is also a necessary part of prosecuting many violent crimes. The suspect planned and made preparations to kill his neighbor, why he wanted to kill him is motive and irrelevant.
Your third one goes to whether the defendant had the mental capacity to know right from wrong (there is a five dollar Latin term for this but it escapes me right now), but again motive isn't relevant.

I don't mean to nitpik your post, but theses ideas have been used by others to try and show that motive is used in other areas of the law to determine the charges brought. They are wrong of course, which is why its important to make these points.
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Old 02-27-2018, 04:19 PM
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Default Re: Hate Crimes Are Thought Crimes

I have heard that crimes against seniors, are worse than crimes against younger people. I guess that would be like a crime against the physically or mentally disabled. In my gut, I feel those crimes are worse, or maybe that the perp is a worse human being for picking on these people.

I would like to see extra punishment for these criminals.
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Old 02-27-2018, 04:56 PM
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Default Re: Hate Crimes Are Thought Crimes

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I agree these things should be taken into consideration and they are, however they are not motive.
Your first one is know as "intent" or "Mens Rea" and is a necessary part of prosecuting many violent crimes. "Motive" isn't needed to prove intent. The suspect intentionally punched him in the face, why he punched him in the face is motive and irrelevant except in hate crimes.
Your second one is "pre-meditation" and/or "malice aforethought" and is also a necessary part of prosecuting many violent crimes. The suspect planned and made preparations to kill his neighbor, why he wanted to kill him is motive and irrelevant.
Your third one goes to whether the defendant had the mental capacity to know right from wrong (there is a five dollar Latin term for this but it escapes me right now), but again motive isn't relevant.

I don't mean to nitpik your post, but theses ideas have been used by others to try and show that motive is used in other areas of the law to determine the charges brought. They are wrong of course, which is why its important to make these points.
when speaking legally Nit-Picking is part of it.
The distinction between "intent" and "motive" legally is a good one to make in this discussion.

I was using the term "motive" more colloquially.
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