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Hate crimes laws go both ways

Hate crimes laws go both ways

Can lesbians be charged with a hate crime for beating up a gay man?

Why not? Once we make motive an element of a crime, it goes both ways, and all ways.

So a Jew can be guilty of an anti-Jewish hate crime, a black of an anti-black hate crime, and in this case in Boston, three lesbians of an anti-homosexual hate crime for calling a gay man names while beating him up.

Via The 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.”

Prosecutors and the ACLU of Massachusetts said no matter the defendants’ sexual orientation, they can still face the crime of assault and battery with intent to intimidate, which carries up to a 10-year prison sentence, by using hateful language.

“Someone who is Jewish can be anti-Semitic,” said ACLU staff attorney Sarah Wunsch. “The mere fact that someone is a member of the same class doesn’t mean they could not be motivated by hatred for their very own group.”

This is the definition of hate crime in Massachusetts:

“Hate crime”, any criminal act coupled with overt actions motivated by bigotry and bias including, but not limited to, a threatened, attempted or completed overt act motivated at least in part by racial, religious, ethnic, handicap, gender or sexual orientation prejudice, or which otherwise deprives another person of his constitutional rights by threats, intimidation or coercion, or which seek to interfere with or disrupt a person’s exercise of constitutional rights through harassment or intimidation….

By the wording, it would seem that if a lesbian were prejudiced against gay men, and committed a crime against the person while acting on that prejudice, that would qualify.

Silvergate is an interesting guy.  He’s a co-founder of F.I.R.E. and an adjunct scholar at the CATO Institute.  He’s also right about how easy it is to end up with absurd results when the criminal law gets tangled in motives as opposed to acts.

It’s not an easy position to take because opposing hate crimes law opens one up to the false allegation of being in favor of the acts constituting the crimes.

But given two identical crimes, why should one victim be deemed more worthy of greater protection not based on the status of the victim (e.g. a child) but based on the motive of the perp?


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It may be simplistic, but to my mind, most crime is “hate-crime”. And this story seems to show we are coming around on the circle.

Also, “hate-crimes” may be the easiest ever enhanced crimes to get away with. As you assault your victim, you keep your mouth shut. The motive for the beating? A total freaking mystery.

I think it might be helpful to look at the kind of evidence to “prove” a “hate crime,” in order to figure out what, exactly, is being penalized.

How many double entendres can one fit into the first 3 sentences?

So beating someone just to take their wallet and Rolex is a relatively legitimate crime. It’s a “love crime” .. love of money.

Besides the suppression of political thought, determining the hate will allow for many additional billable hours, and greater settlements. It’s more redistribution of wealth to preferred groups and their lawyers. But thought crime may backfire if the lefties are the bigger haters.

    Ragspierre in reply to Midwest Rhino. | February 25, 2012 at 10:40 am

    “It’s more redistribution of wealth to preferred groups and their lawyers.”

    That is just silly. Sorry, but it is.

      Midwest Rhino in reply to Ragspierre. | February 25, 2012 at 10:52 am

      From my view, the intent of the law was more to suppress free speech, or thought. But the overall divisiveness of trying to protect certain classes adds another layer to laws or lawsuits. But I don’t have any idea if that has influenced settlements. But a quick Google indicates at least some use “hate crime” to advertise.

      If you’ve been a victim of a hate crime or any other intentional injury crime, you deserve fair compensation.

        Ragspierre in reply to Midwest Rhino. | February 25, 2012 at 11:11 am

        Couple of observations, Rhino…

        First, the person who wrote that post you linked is border-line illiterate.

        Second, I wonder if they collected anything on that judgment?

        Third, I wonder if anybody bothered to appeal that case. I doubt it, as on its face a 1.5 million dollar “lost wages” award for a 16 year old kid (then 19) is excessive.

        Forth, I NEVER underestimate the creativity and avarice of segments of my profession. I DO marvel at their ignorance of the law, sometimes.

          Midwest Rhino in reply to Ragspierre. | February 25, 2012 at 11:39 am

          OK .. well I’m not a lawyer. I try to catch up a little as these things are posted. Thanks for your couple couple of points …

          It is hard to defend the Aryan Nations, but unions still seem to threaten “scabs” or beat protesters with the “wrong” signs, so perhaps they should be the next charged “haters”.

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | February 25, 2012 at 11:46 am

          Ah, an excellent point about unions. You wanna see some hate? Watch the numerous union/TEA Party confrontation videos.

          How do they get away with it? In places they DON’T. In places, it is sort of “traditional” to allow union members to threaten, harm, burn, blast, and kill. Really.

        Ragspierre in reply to Midwest Rhino. | February 25, 2012 at 11:42 am

        One other point that I overlooked…

        Torts…especially intentional torts…have HISTORICALLY allowed for a jury to find enhancement (punitive damages) for a malicious and/or outrageous act. So the existence of hate-crime legislation really brings nothing new to the civil law side, IMNHO.

So, was THIS an aggravated hate-assault?

The Bible has an interesting view/definition of ‘hate’.

One – it seems to mean to ‘abandon’ and reject.

Then there is Psalm 139, verses 21-22, which describes a ‘perfect hatred’…
the disgust, naming as enemies, the enemies of GOD. It is an unequivocal recognition and condemnation, but in verse 19, it says ‘slaying the wicked’ is GODs jurisdiction and prerogative.

The Psalm ends with honest, God-oriented (the best and most desirable orientation) self-examination (vvs. 23-24) “Search me, O God and know my heart: try me and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me.”

All in all – a healthy and non-destructive (self and other destruction) form of hatred.

What would you expect from a Holy God who loves us, despite our faults, failures and foolish ways?

    it says ‘slaying the wicked’ is GODs jurisdiction and prerogative.

    This is why I have always wondered by anybody, but especially Islamists, think that God needs their help, It’s more than a bit narcissistic to believe that God needs you or anybody else to smite those who are under his jurisdiction and prerogative.

Penis envy crime?

So remember if you’re beat up, claim to have latent homosexual tendencies. Given then that you can possibly go both ways, insist that you attacker be charged with a “hate crime.”

    tsrblke in reply to Neo. | February 25, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    I move to make “Geek” and “Nerd” a protected class under these rules. Therefore if I’m ever mugged it’s a hate crime.

Side note: According to federal hate crime statistics, hispanics/latinos can never be hate crime perpetrators, only hate crime victims. If charged with a hate crime, they’re classified as white in federal statistics.

It would be so much simpler if prosecutors would admit hate crimes as a class were payment from legislators for support from special interest groups, and never intended for equitable enforcement. That way DAs could do their jobs and not place idiotic special treatment laws at risk for nullification by appeals.

Whatever happened to plain ol’ assault and battery, murder, theft etc?

It seems to me that all of this was covered by existing laws.

I do think that two exceptions should exist and that’s crimes against minors by adults and crimes against the elderly. Other than that, let’s get back to basics and start to simplify the system and actually get something done…