Just wondering…
March 26, 2007
Shemale Documentary or Christian Hit Piece?
March 29, 2007

HR 1592

HR 1592 IH

110th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 1592

To provide Federal assistance to States, local jurisdictions, and
Indian tribes to prosecute hate crimes, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

March 20, 2007

Mr. CONYERS (for himself, Mr. KIRK, Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts, Mr.
SHAYS, Ms. BALDWIN, Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN, Mr. NADLER, Mrs. BONO, Mr.
ABERCROMBIE, Mr. ACKERMAN, Mr. ALLEN, Mr. ANDREWS, Mr. ARCURI, Mr.
BACA, Mr. BAIRD, Mr. BECERRA, Ms. BERKLEY, Mr. BERMAN, Mrs. BIGGERT,
Mr. BISHOP of New York, Mr. BLUMENAUER, Ms. BORDALLO, Mr. BOSWELL, Mr.
BRADY of Pennsylvania, Mr. BRALEY of Iowa, Ms. CORRINE BROWN of
Florida, Mrs. CAPPS, Mr. CAPUANO, Mr. CARNAHAN, Ms. CARSON, Mr.
CASTLE, Mr. COHEN, Mr. COSTA, Mr. COURTNEY, Mr. CROWLEY, Mr. CUMMINGS,
Mr. DAVIS of Illinois, Mrs. DAVIS of California, Mr. DEFAZIO, Ms.
DEGETTE, Mr. DELAHUNT, Ms. DELAURO, Mr. DINGELL, Mr. DOGGETT, Mr.
DOYLE, Mr. ELLISON, Mr. EMANUEL, Mr. ENGEL, Mr. FARR, Mr. FATTAH, Mr.
FILNER, Mr. GERLACH, Ms. GIFFORDS, Mr. GONZALEZ, Mr. GENE GREEN of
Texas, Mr. GRIJALVA, Mr. HASTINGS of Florida, Mr. HIGGINS, Mr.
HINCHEY, Ms. HIRONO, Mr. HODES, Mr. HOLT, Mr. HONDA, Ms. HOOLEY, Mr.
INSLEE, Mr. ISRAEL, Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas, Ms. EDDIE BERNICE
JOHNSON of Texas, Mr. KAGEN, Mr. KENNEDY, Mr. KILDEE, Mr. KIND, Mr.
KLEIN of Florida, Mr. KUCINICH, Mr. KUHL of New York, Mr. LANGEVIN,
Mr. LARSON of Connecticut, Ms. LEE, Mr. LEVIN, Mr. LEWIS of Georgia,
Mr. LOEBSACK, Ms. ZOE LOFGREN of California, Mrs. LOWEY, Mr. LYNCH,
Mrs. MALONEY of New York, Mr. MARKEY, Ms. MATSUI, Ms. MCCOLLUM of
Minnesota, Mr. MCDERMOTT, Mr. MCGOVERN, Mr. MCNULTY, Mr. MEEHAN, Mr.
MICHAUD, Mr. MILLER of North Carolina, Mr. GEORGE MILLER of
California, Ms. MOORE of Wisconsin, Mr. MOORE of Kansas, Mr. MORAN of
Virginia, Mr. MURPHY of Connecticut, Mr. PATRICK J. MURPHY of
Pennsylvania, Mrs. NAPOLITANO, Ms. NORTON, Mr. OLVER, Mr. PALLONE, Mr.
PASCRELL, Mr. PASTOR, Mr. PAYNE, Mr. ROTHMAN, Ms. ROYBAL-ALLARD, Ms.
LINDA T. SANCHEZ of California, Ms. SCHAKOWSKY, Mr. SCHIFF, Ms.
SCHWARTZ, Mr. SCOTT of Virginia, Mr. SERRANO, Ms. SHEA-PORTER, Mr.
SHERMAN, Mr. SIRES, Mr. SKELTON, Ms. SLAUGHTER, Mr. SMITH of
Washington, Mr. STARK, Ms. SUTTON, Mrs. TAUSCHER, Mr. THOMPSON of
California, Mr. TIERNEY, Mrs. JONES of Ohio, Mr. UDALL of Colorado,
Mr. UDALL of New Mexico, Mr. VAN HOLLEN, Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, Ms.
WATSON, Mr. WAXMAN, Mr. WEINER, Mr. WEXLER, Ms. WOOLSEY, Mr. WU, and
Mr. WYNN) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary

A BILL

To provide Federal assistance to States, local jurisdictions, and
Indian tribes to prosecute hate crimes, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes
Prevention Act of 2007′.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

Congress makes the following findings:

(1) The incidence of violence motivated by the actual or
perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual
orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim poses a
serious national problem.

(2) Such violence disrupts the tranquility and safety of
communities and is deeply divisive.

(3) State and local authorities are now and will continue
to be responsible for prosecuting the overwhelming majority of violent
crimes in the United States, including violent crimes motivated by
bias. These authorities can carry out their responsibilities more
effectively with greater Federal assistance.

(4) Existing Federal law is inadequate to address this problem.

(5) A prominent characteristic of a violent crime
motivated by bias is that it devastates not just the actual victim and
the family and friends of the victim, but frequently savages the
community sharing the traits that caused the victim to be selected.

(6) Such violence substantially affects interstate
commerce in many ways, including the following:

(A) The movement of members of targeted groups is
impeded, and members of such groups are forced to move across State
lines to escape the incidence or risk of such violence.

(B) Members of targeted groups are prevented from
purchasing goods and services, obtaining or sustaining employment, or
participating in other commercial activity.

(C) Perpetrators cross State lines to commit such violence.

(D) Channels, facilities, and instrumentalities of
interstate commerce are used to facilitate the commission of such
violence.

(E) Such violence is committed using articles that
have traveled in interstate commerce.

(7) For generations, the institutions of slavery and
involuntary servitude were defined by the race, color, and ancestry of
those held in bondage. Slavery and involuntary servitude were
enforced, both prior to and after the adoption of the 13th amendment
to the Constitution of the United States, through widespread public
and private violence directed at persons because of their race, color,
or ancestry, or perceived race, color, or ancestry. Accordingly,
eliminating racially motivated violence is an important means of
eliminating, to the extent possible, the badges, incidents, and relics
of slavery and involuntary servitude.

(8) Both at the time when the 13th, 14th, and 15th
amendments to the Constitution of the United States were adopted, and
continuing to date, members of certain religious and national origin
groups were and are perceived to be distinct `races’. Thus, in order
to eliminate, to the extent possible, the badges, incidents, and
relics of slavery, it is necessary to prohibit assaults on the basis
of real or perceived religions or national origins, at least to the
extent such religions or national origins were regarded as races at
the time of the adoption of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the
Constitution of the United States.

(9) Federal jurisdiction over certain violent crimes
motivated by bias enables Federal, State, and local authorities to
work together as partners in the investigation and prosecution of such
crimes.

(10) The problem of crimes motivated by bias is
sufficiently serious, widespread, and interstate in nature as to
warrant Federal assistance to States, local jurisdictions, and Indian
tribes.

SEC. 3. DEFINITION OF HATE CRIME.

In this Act–

(1) the term `crime of violence’ has the meaning given
that term in section 16, title 18, United States Code;

(2) the term `hate crime’ has the meaning given such term
in section 280003(a) of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement
Act of 1994 (28 U.S.C. 994 note); and

(3) the term `local’ means a county, city, town, township,
parish, village, or other general purpose political subdivision of a
State.

SEC. 4. SUPPORT FOR CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS AND PROSECUTIONS BY STATE,
LOCAL, AND TRIBAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS.

(a) Assistance Other Than Financial Assistance-

(1) IN GENERAL- At the request of State, local, or Tribal
law enforcement agency, the Attorney General may provide technical,
forensic, prosecutorial, or any other form of assistance in the
criminal investigation or prosecution of any crime that–

(A) constitutes a crime of violence;

(B) constitutes a felony under the State, local, or
Tribal laws; and

(C) is motivated by prejudice based on the actual or
perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual
orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim, or is a
violation of the State, local, or Tribal hate crime laws.

(2) PRIORITY- In providing assistance under paragraph (1),
the Attorney General shall give priority to crimes committed by
offenders who have committed crimes in more than one State and to
rural jurisdictions that have difficulty covering the extraordinary
expenses relating to the investigation or prosecution of the crime.

(b) Grants-

(1) IN GENERAL- The Attorney General may award grants to
State, local, and Indian law enforcement agencies for extraordinary
expenses associated with the investigation and prosecution of hate
crimes.

(2) OFFICE OF JUSTICE PROGRAMS- In implementing the grant
program under this subsection, the Office of Justice Programs shall
work closely with grantees to ensure that the concerns and needs of
all affected parties, including community groups and schools,
colleges, and universities, are addressed through the local
infrastructure developed under the grants.

(3) APPLICATION-

(A) IN GENERAL- Each State, local, and Indian law
enforcement agency that desires a grant under this subsection shall
submit an application to the Attorney General at such time, in such
manner, and accompanied by or containing such information as the
Attorney General shall reasonably require.

(B) DATE FOR SUBMISSION- Applications submitted
pursuant to subparagraph (A) shall be submitted during the 60-day
period beginning on a date that the Attorney General shall prescribe.

(C) REQUIREMENTS- A State, local, and Indian law
enforcement agency applying for a grant under this subsection shall–

(i) describe the extraordinary purposes for
which the grant is needed;

(ii) certify that the State, local government,
or Indian tribe lacks the resources necessary to investigate or
prosecute the hate crime;

(iii) demonstrate that, in developing a plan
to implement the grant, the State, local, and Indian law enforcement
agency has consulted and coordinated with nonprofit, nongovernmental
victim services programs that have experience in providing services to
victims of hate crimes; and

(iv) certify that any Federal funds received
under this subsection will be used to supplement, not supplant,
non-Federal funds that would otherwise be available for activities
funded under this subsection.

(4) DEADLINE- An application for a grant under this
subsection shall be approved or denied by the Attorney General not
later than 30 business days after the date on which the Attorney
General receives the application.

(5) GRANT AMOUNT- A grant under this subsection shall not
exceed $100,000 for any single jurisdiction in any 1-year period.

(6) REPORT- Not later than December 31, 2008, the Attorney
General shall submit to Congress a report describing the applications
submitted for grants under this subsection, the award of such grants,
and the purposes for which the grant amounts were expended.

(7) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS- There is authorized
to be appropriated to carry out this subsection $5,000,000 for each of
fiscal years 2008 and 2009.

SEC. 5. GRANT PROGRAM.

(a) Authority To Award Grants- The Office of Justice Programs of
the Department of Justice may award grants, in accordance with such
regulations as the Attorney General may prescribe, to State, local, or
Tribal programs designed to combat hate crimes committed by juveniles,
including programs to train local law enforcement officers in
identifying, investigating, prosecuting, and preventing hate crimes.

(b) Authorization of Appropriations- There are authorized to be
appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out this section.

SEC. 6. AUTHORIZATION FOR ADDITIONAL PERSONNEL TO ASSIST STATE, LOCAL,
AND TRIBAL LAW ENFORCEMENT.

There are authorized to be appropriated to the Department of the
Treasury and the Department of Justice, including the Community
Relations Service, for fiscal years 2008, 2009, and 2010 such sums as
are necessary to increase the number of personnel to prevent and
respond to alleged violations of section 249 of title 18, United
States Code, as added by section 7 of this Act.

SEC. 7. PROHIBITION OF CERTAIN HATE CRIME ACTS.

(a) In General- Chapter 13 of title 18, United States Code, is
amended by adding at the end the following:

`Sec. 249. Hate crime acts

`(a) In General-

`(1) OFFENSES INVOLVING ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED RACE, COLOR,
RELIGION, OR NATIONAL ORIGIN- Whoever, whether or not acting under
color of law, willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through
the use of fire, a firearm, or an explosive or incendiary device,
attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual
or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin of any person–

`(A) shall be imprisoned not more than 10 years,
fined in accordance with this title, or both; and

`(B) shall be imprisoned for any term of years or
for life, fined in accordance with this title, or both, if–

`(i) death results from the offense; or

`(ii) the offense includes kidnaping or an
attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit
aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill.

`(2) OFFENSES INVOLVING ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED RELIGION,
NATIONAL ORIGIN, GENDER, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, GENDER IDENTITY, OR
DISABILITY-

`(A) IN GENERAL- Whoever, whether or not acting
under color of law, in any circumstance described in subparagraph (B),
willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of
fire, a firearm, or an explosive or incendiary device, attempts to
cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived
religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity
or disability of any person–

`(i) shall be imprisoned not more than 10
years, fined in accordance with this title, or both; and

`(ii) shall be imprisoned for any term of
years or for life, fined in accordance with this title, or both, if–

`(I) death results from the offense; or

`(II) the offense includes kidnaping or
an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit
aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill.

`(B) CIRCUMSTANCES DESCRIBED- For purposes of
subparagraph (A), the circumstances described in this subparagraph are
that–

`(i) the conduct described in subparagraph (A)
occurs during the course of, or as the result of, the travel of the
defendant or the victim–

`(I) across a State line or national border; or

`(II) using a channel, facility, or
instrumentality of interstate or foreign commerce;

`(ii) the defendant uses a channel, facility,
or instrumentality of interstate or foreign commerce in connection
with the conduct described in subparagraph (A);

`(iii) in connection with the conduct
described in subparagraph (A), the defendant employs a firearm,
explosive or incendiary device, or other weapon that has traveled in
interstate or foreign commerce; or

`(iv) the conduct described in subparagraph (A)–

`(I) interferes with commercial or other
economic activity in which the victim is engaged at the time of the
conduct; or

`(II) otherwise affects interstate or
foreign commerce.

`(b) Certification Requirement- No prosecution of any offense
described in this subsection may be undertaken by the United States,
except under the certification in writing of the Attorney General, the
Deputy Attorney General, the Associate Attorney General, or any
Assistant Attorney General specially designated by the Attorney
General that–

`(1) such certifying individual has reasonable cause to
believe that the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national
origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of
any person was a motivating factor underlying the alleged conduct of
the defendant; and

`(2) such certifying individual has consulted with State
or local law enforcement officials regarding the prosecution and
determined that–

`(A) the State does not have jurisdiction or does
not intend to exercise jurisdiction;

`(B) the State has requested that the Federal
Government assume jurisdiction;

`(C) the State does not object to the Federal
Government assuming jurisdiction; or

`(D) the verdict or sentence obtained pursuant to
State charges left demonstratively unvindicated the Federal interest
in eradicating bias-motivated violence.

`(c) Definitions- In this section–

`(1) the term `explosive or incendiary device’ has the
meaning given such term in section 232 of this title;

`(2) the term `firearm’ has the meaning given such term in
section 921(a) of this title; and

`(3) the term `gender identity’ for the purposes of this
chapter means actual or perceived gender-related characteristics.

`(d) Rule of Evidence- In a prosecution for an offense under
this section, evidence of expression or associations of the defendant
may not be introduced as substantive evidence at trial, unless the
evidence specifically relates to that offense. However, nothing in
this section affects the rules of evidence governing impeachment of a
witness.’.

(b) Technical and Conforming Amendment- The analysis for chapter
13 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end
the following:

`249. Hate crime acts.’.

SEC. 8. STATISTICS.

(a) In General- Subsection (b)(1) of the first section of the
Hate Crimes Statistics Act (28 U.S.C. 534 note) is amended by
inserting `gender and gender identity,’ after `race,’.

(b) Data- Subsection (b)(5) of the first section of the Hate
Crimes Statistics Act (28 U.S.C. 534 note) is amended by inserting `,
including data about crimes committed by, and crimes directed against,
juveniles’ after `data acquired under this section’.

SEC. 9. SEVERABILITY.

If any provision of this Act, an amendment made by this Act, or
the application of such provision or amendment to any person or
circumstance is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this
Act, the amendments made by this Act, and the application of the
provisions of such to any person or circumstance shall not be affected
thereby.

48 Comments

  1. “What you’re talking about is a matter of the heart, mind and soul and cannot be solved with legislation.”

    No it’s not. It’s a matter of institutionalized bigotry and discrimination in prosecution and investigation of crimes against transgender people.

    Estanislao Martinez got 4 years for stabbing to death Joel Robles. But the reality is that most transgender murders go unsolved. A federal infusion of money will certainly help to increase convictions of those who murder transgender people.

    “I’ve seen the RICO statute and anti-trust legislation used to prohibit people from standing on the sidewalk and saying, “God loves you” (which, by the way, was called a form of violence by individuals involved in the public, political and legal debates at the time).”

    Members of Soulforce are arrested quite often for simply standing on a sidewalk and talking to people, so don’t feel alone. They also get the added bonus of having someone hold signs saying ““Three Gay Rights: 1) AIDS 2) HELL 3) SALVATION'” and others yelling at a woman saying the woman didn’t love her “any more than Satan loves you!”

  2. “What you’re talking about is a matter of the heart, mind and soul and cannot be solved with legislation.”

    No it’s not. It’s a matter of institutionalized bigotry and discrimination in prosecution and investigation of crimes against transgender people.

    Estanislao Martinez got 4 years for stabbing to death Joel Robles. But the reality is that most transgender murders go unsolved. A federal infusion of money will certainly help to increase convictions of those who murder transgender people.

    “I’ve seen the RICO statute and anti-trust legislation used to prohibit people from standing on the sidewalk and saying, “God loves you” (which, by the way, was called a form of violence by individuals involved in the public, political and legal debates at the time).”

    Members of Soulforce are arrested quite often for simply standing on a sidewalk and talking to people, so don’t feel alone. They also get the added bonus of having someone hold signs saying ““Three Gay Rights: 1) AIDS 2) HELL 3) SALVATION'” and others yelling at a woman saying the woman didn’t love her “any more than Satan loves you!”

  3. “I hadn’t noticed any other bloggers quoting sections of the bill in their comments, so I didn’t know that was a requirement. Actually, as I read back through the comments, I don’t notice that any deal directly with the contents of the bill.”

    Exactly. It’s much easier for me to understand your point if you explain exactly the areas you have trouble with, and how you interpret them.

    “You’re right, it wouldn’t under Sec. 249, which you quote. But, again, the language of USC Title 18 is part of this bill as a definition of a violent crime, meaning that definition can be substituted for every use of the phrase “crimes of violence” or others comparable. It’s a device acting as a non-specific “blanket” to cover everything the authors of the bill thought they may have missed in their more specific language, like a huge, lurking legislative ETC. waiting to take on a life of its own.”

    Wouldn’t Sec. 249 color the definition? With so much emphasis placed on legislative intent, wouldn’t this be an obvious block against widening the scope of the “crimes of violence” definition?

  4. Betsy Knight says:

    “Betsy, you seem to forget that transfolk are still more despised than just about any other class of people in the US”

    Sabrina, I know there are many groups that are despised, some merely by other groups and some universally. Members of each of those groups who have personally suffered at the hands of others would differ with you on who is most despised. I will not debate that with you because I’m certain you have had personal experience with the hatefulness of hard-hearted, spiteful people, some even claiming to be “churchfolk” (And please know, just because they call themselves that doesn’t necessarily make them “Jesus-folk”). What you’re talking about is a matter of the heart, mind and soul and cannot be solved with legislation.

    “And your thought experiment above, looking for a case where a law like this could be misapplied, is disingenuous in the extreme. It supposes a situation where gay people are trespassing onto church property where they have been expressly excluded. Generally, GLBT people don’t intrude like that into other people’s spaces — others intrude into ours, sometimes to shout us down, or bomb us, or such.”

    First, I don’t know of a church that expressly excludes anyone from being on their property. I know you will disagree with that on a philosophical basis, but if they expressly exclude any individual, no matter what their background, they are not a true church (That comment isn’t going to play well with a LOT of people, but please think it through. Christ said, “Come to me, all of you who are burdened, and I will give you rest.”). The individual’s or group’s actions, once they are at the church would justify a complaint of trespass (which many, if not most churches would not file). Second, my example isn’t merely thought, it’s taken from actual events. As for not intruding into other people’s spaces, there are few things uglier than seeing a loved one’s funeral disrupted by gay activists from other parts of the country protesting over gay-military issues (Yes, there is a Texas-based group who organizes these protests to take place at the funerals of fallen service men and women around the country.). Third, I don’t think I said anything that can be called disingenous, and certainly not “in the extreme” (too casual use of that very potent word). I was being very frank and sincere, and these are real concerns to me. Even though I do not share your personal experiences, I’m part of a group that is actually banned by Federal law from just standing in certain public places and saying what I believe in many public places as well as meeting there with my kind. Not many groups can claim that kind of singular treatment these days.

    As I mentioned in my previous comments, the rather ambiguous language of US Code Section 18 used to define a crime of violence is of concern to me. Many people have no idea how such a thing can be interpreted. I’ve seen the RICO statute and anti-trust legislation used to prohibit people from standing on the sidewalk and saying, “God loves you” (which, by the way, was called a form of violence by individuals involved in the public, political and legal debates at the time). I know that in this time and in this culture, with a loosely-written law, anything is possible.

  5. sabrina Star says:

    Betsy, you seem to forget that transfolk are still more despised than just about any other class of people in the US (except, at the moment, perhaps for Arab-Americans).

    It’s not as if there are judges out there clamoring for the chance to rule in favor of transfolk at the expense of, well, anyone else. If anyone should be afraid of ambiguity in this bill, it’s actually us.

    And your thought experiment above, looking for a case where a law like this could be misapplied, is disingenuous in the extreme. It supposes a situation where gay people are trespassing onto church property where they have been expressly excluded. Generally, GLBT people don’t intrude like that into other people’s spaces — others intrude into ours, sometimes to shout us down, or bomb us, or such.

  6. Betsy Knight says:

    “Please, when responding, it is key that you include specifically where in the legislation where ‘it says this.'”

    I hadn’t noticed any other bloggers quoting sections of the bill in their comments, so I didn’t know that was a requirement. Actually, as I read back through the comments, I don’t notice that any deal directly with the contents of the bill. Of course, I’m just skimming. I also assumed all commentors had read it and citing sections would be considered patronizing. You’ve presented a lot for me to address, so here goes.

    “Mandatory sentencing already is a reality in drug crimes. Regardless of what the judge or anyone else thinks, the drug trafficker will receive a sentence that is required by law, no matter if the judge is a pot smoker and president of NORML.”

    A lot goes on before an actual conviction in drug trafficking. And I don’t think that’s an issue here. Drug trafficking to hate crimes is apples to oranges. With this legislation, we’re getting further from the application of common law (consistent remedies across the board) andd moving more into the territory of jurists/juries recommending remedies on a case-by-case basis, which is, I believe, your concern with the “remedy” (Believe me, I’m using that term with as much revulsion and sarcasm as possible.)in the sentencing of Chanelle Pickett’s murderer.

    “That isn’t about evening a score. Chanelle Pickett’s murder wasn’t a game. She’s dead, and her murder did TWO YEARS for the crime.”

    I was NOT referring to Chanelle Pickett’s murder or your comments regarding that tragedy when I referred to some commentors looking for “payback”.

    “Where are you getting that language from? Please include the language in the bill that you are calling into question.”

    The phrase “and for other purposes” is used in the introductory just before the list of co-sponsors and in the “The Bill” descriptive just after that list. While not part of the bill per se, it can later be incorporated and be used to speak to intent by attorneys and judges seeking to broaden the scope of the law.

    “The definition of ‘crimes of violence’ isn’t part of this bill, but is taken from section 16, title 18, United States Code.”

    Citing the definition of “crimes of violence” from section 16 of USC Title 18 under the “Definitions” section of this bill makes that definition part of this bill.

    “Where do you find ambiguity?”

    Using the definition cited above for “crimes of violence” in this bill leaves a lot open to interpretation. How do you define “the element of force”? Who decides “threatened force”? Does that mean if the alleged perpetrator threatens force or if the alleged victim feels threatened? According to SEC. 7-2, Subparagraph B of this bill, much rests on the alleged victim’s belief regarding the alleged defendant’s actions. That’s what I mean by ambiguity.
    As I said previously in this comment, it leaves a wide open door for jurists wanting to broaden the scope.

    “Standing in a doorway would not cause bodily injury and it certainly couldn’t be seen as an attempt to cause bodily injury.”

    You’re right, it wouldn’t under Sec. 249, which you quote. But, again, the language of USC Title 18 is part of this bill as a definition of a violent crime, meaning that definition can be substituted for every use of the phrase “crimes of violence” or others comparable. It’s a device acting as a non-specific “blanket” to cover everything the authors of the bill thought they may have missed in their more specific language, like a huge, lurking legislative ETC. waiting to take on a life of its own.

  7. 😉 Don’t worry about it, I can fix it… I run this place.

    Btw, your respectful debate is appreciated. More than anything, my desire is to understand and learn, as much as debate. I stopped talking before because the commenter was arguing rhetoric, not law, code, or definitions. I don’t have the time for that, frankly. But if we can educate each other in some way, I find that a worthy endeavor.

    Seeing the horrible crimes that this community has to endure simply for existing, then being smacked in the fact that equal crimes don’t get equal time… is really why I want to see this bill pass. I don’t want to have “special rights” or extra protections. I simply want my brothers and sisters in the trans community to be treated as with the same level of human dignity as everyone else receives.

  8. “There are laws on the books that address violent crimes against all people. The problem is that not all crimes are investigated, prosecuted and punished the same. It often comes down to the personal views/attitudes/convictions of the investigative officers, prosecutors, and even judges and juries involved and/or the prosecutor’s opinion on what how a conviction can be most readily achieved. Between plea bargains and other behind-the-scenes machinations, most victims and their families are not satisfied with the watered-down sentences their attackers receive. I don’t know that this bill, if made law, would be handled any differently. It opens the door to more unfair treatment, especially if it is used, as some at this blog imply, to even the score.”

    Mandatory sentencing already is a reality in drug crimes. Regardless of what the judge or anyone else thinks, the drug trafficker will receive a sentence that is required by law, no matter if the judge is a pot smoker and president of NORML. That isn’t about evening a score. Chanelle Pickett’s murder wasn’t a game. She’s dead, and her murder did TWO YEARS for the crime. This is about bringing some modicum of equal/blind justice back into the courts.

    “The thing that concerns me about this bill is the use of the phrase ‘and other purposes'”

    Where are you getting that language from? Please include the language in the bill that you are calling into question.

    “Also,’crime of violence’ is any act involving the ‘element of use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force.'”

    The definition of “crimes of violence” isn’t part of this bill, but is taken from section 16, title 18, United States Code.

    “Let’s say gay activists show up at a church to protest that church’s refusal to hire a gay person as a youth counselor (You might not like it, but there are people you wouldn’t want to hire based on your convictions either, and it is the church’s right.). They attempt to enter the building. Someone stands in their way at the door and physically, without throwing a punch, keeps them from entering. There’s the “element of use”. Again, ambiguity is never a good thing in the law.”

    Where do you find ambiguity?

    “Sec. 249. Hate crime acts

    `(a) In General-

    `(1) OFFENSES INVOLVING ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED RACE, COLOR, RELIGION, OR NATIONAL ORIGIN- Whoever, whether or not acting under color of law, willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, or an explosive or incendiary device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin of any person”

    Standing in a doorway would not cause bodily injury and it certainly couldn’t be seen as an attempt to cause bodily injury.

    “little light says this is not punishment for a thought crime, then says intent and motive are nearly always taken into account. Those are thoughts. This bill stipulates that the Fed can prosecute (investigation is not mentioned) if the “certifying individual [alleged victim] has reasonable cause to believe” that his/her protected status was a motivator. The Fed can even step in and re-try if they’re not satisfied with the outcome of a local or state trial. That could boil down to the socio-political views of the administration, and nobody wants that, especially if payback is a consideration.”

    Please, when responding, it is key that you include specifically where in the legislation where “it says this.”

  9. Betsy Knight says:

    Let’s stick to discussion relevant to this bill. There are laws on the books addressing these issues. The problem is there is no consistency in how they’re enforced. So much relies on the personal views/attitudes/convictions of investigating officers, prosecutors, and even judges and juries, not to mention the prosecutor’s opinion on how a conviction of some kind can be most readily achieved. Between plea bargains and other behind-the-scene machinations, most victims and their families aren’t satisfied with the watered-down sentences imposed on the guilty. I’m not sure this bill, if it becomes law, would be any different. It would open the door to further unfair treatment, especially if it’s used, as some imply on this blog, as payback.

    What concerns me about the bill is the use of the phrase “and for other purposes”. How far does that go, and who decides? Ambiguity is never a good thing in the law. Also, a “crime of violence” is defined as an act having “the element of use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force”. Say a gay activist group shows up at a church to protest their refusal to hire a gay person as a youth counsellor (You may not agree with it, but there are people you wouldn’t hire based on your convictions, and it is the church’s right.). They attempt to enter the building, and, without throwing, the pastor is able to keep them from entering. There’s the “element of force”. Because of the power of the Fed exacted in this bill, the pastor’s benign physical force will trump the group’s perceived lesser crimes of tresspass and assault.

    little light says this is not a bill to punish thought, then says intent and motive are often considered in the decision of a case. Intent and motive are thought. This bill provides for the Fed to prosecute (investigation is not mentioned) based on the alledged victim’s “reasonable cause to believe” their protected status is a motive in the alleged crime. The Fed can even step in and re-try a case of the initial outcome at the state and local level is unsatisfactory to them. This could boil down to the socio-political views of the administration or their desire to politically manipulate the voting public. And NOBODY wants that.

    I understand the intention of the bill. I’m not sure about the political motivatiions of some of its sponsors. The fact is, this is a poorly written bill that should not become law because for some in power it is politically expedient.

  10. Betsy Knight says:

    Let’s stick to discussion relevant to this bill. There are laws on the books addressing these issues. The problem is there is no consistency in how they’re enforced. So much relies on the personal views/attitudes/convictions of investigating officers, prosecutors, and even judges and juries, not to mention the prosecutor’s opinion on how a conviction of some kind can be most readily achieved. Between plea bargains and other behind-the-scene machinations, most victims and their families aren’t satisfied with the watered-down sentences imposed on the guilty. I’m not sure this bill, if it becomes law, would be any different. It would open the door to further unfair treatment, especially if it’s used, as some imply on this blog, as payback.

    What concerns me about the bill is the use of the phrase “and for other purposes”. How far does that go, and who decides? Ambiguity is never a good thing in the law. Also, a “crime of violence” is defined as an act having “the element of use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force”. Say a gay activist group shows up at a church to protest their refusal to hire a gay person as a youth counsellor (You may not agree with it, but there are people you wouldn’t hire based on your convictions, and it is the church’s right.). They attempt to enter the building, and, without throwing, the pastor is able to keep them from entering. There’s the “element of force”. Because of the power of the Fed exacted in this bill, the pastor’s benign physical force will trump the group’s perceived lesser crimes of tresspass and assault.

    little light says this is not a bill to punish thought, then says intent and motive are often considered in the decision of a case. Intent and motive are thought. This bill provides for the Fed to prosecute (investigation is not mentioned) based on the alledged victim’s “reasonable cause to believe” their protected status is a motive in the alleged crime. The Fed can even step in and re-try a case of the initial outcome at the state and local level is unsatisfactory to them. This could boil down to the socio-political views of the administration or their desire to politically manipulate the voting public. And NOBODY wants that.

    I understand the intention of the bill. I’m not sure about the political motivatiions of some of its sponsors. The fact is, this is a poorly written bill that should not become law because for some in power it is politically expedient.

  11. sabrina Star says:

    I used the word “lynching” specifically because this form of killing has a long history of use as racist terrorism. Don’t you see? Hate crimes are terrorism, aimed at specific minorities.

    If you’re going to comb through my words to nitpick here and there, i think you are deliberately trying to miss the point i’m making.

  12. Robert Rogers says:

    For me, your analogy lost credibility when you chose to use the prejudicial phrase “every time a black person is lynched” rather than “every time a black person is killed.” Though it has happened in recent years, lynchings are rare. Killings are not.

  13. “Absolutely. Like anyone else, any gay man or lesbian woman can abide by the same laws as I. I cannot marry another man. Nor can my wife marry another woman. So if gays or lesbians wish to wed, they certainly can, and I’d defend their right to do so. They need merely marry someone of the opposite sex, just as I must.”

    This is why my debate here will end with you. You don’t come here to debate, you come here to pitch your shit tent. You aren’t debating, in any sense of the word.

    DOMA and the marriage amendments of differing flavors existence attest to gays and lesbians right to their 14th amendment rights. The fact that you have to twist history and your words to fit your rhetoric is proof that I am wasting my time. I could produce “empirical data” but it would take literally months to put together. And at the end of that what would the work produce? Your mind is closed to any kind of rational and logical debate, so this is where my responses stop.

  14. “Unfortunately, the Civil Rights Act doesn’t apply here; blacks were discriminated against in law. GLBT are not; they enjoy the same exact rights as any other citizen. And that’s how it should be: their lives and safety should not be valued any more, or any less, than that of any other citizen.”

    You show your lack of knowledge of the Civil Rights Act and Title 7. It doesn’t just cover African Americans. Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.

  15. Sabrina Star says:

    “What a hate-filled little life you must lead.”

    You don’t know the first thing about me, or what i think and feel. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t jump to conclusions based on your own prejudices.

    I’d also remind you that YOU came to THIS blog. You came here and are insulting us and our views. What does that say about you?

    “I’ll just point out that America’s greatness comes from the fact that we DO try to make things a bit better, and a bit more equal in law.”

    And that is exactly what this law will do — make things a bit better.

    For the record, i do not think that the crimes of history are irredeemable. I DO think most people are unaware of just how blood-soaked is the wealth and comfort they enjoy really. With that knowledge in hand we can move forward to create a more just society in the future.

    “We’re tired of the Left’s attempts to bully, and to silence all dissent.”

    Oh, you’re sooooo bullied. You’ve had control of Congress, the Presidency, the Supreme Court, the airwaves, the church pulpits, the newspapers, the boardrooms — all dominated by conservative people with conservative views — and yet you are so downtrodden and bullied.

    You wouldn’t last five minutes in our shoes.

  16. Eric Jacobson says:

    “You claim to hold an “old-fashioned egalitarianism,” but this has never been an egalitarian society.”

    Sure it is; equality of opportunity, as much as that can ever be achieved. That doesn’t imply ‘equal outcomes’ nor ‘equal ability’, nor should it do so. American society provides equal treatment under the law, and the chance to make of your life what you will, far more than Europe or anywhere else.

    “This is what American history looks like from the other side: centuries of slavery; the ethnic cleansing of Indians; women who could not vote or own property until after decades of protests; Jim Crow laws and lynchings; the Tuskegee experiment; gay-bashings and “Christian” protests at the funerals of murdered gay people; Japanese-Americans in internment camps. Poverty, exploitation, job and housing discrimination, and targeted violence.”

    Ah, the Full Monty: ‘America Bad, always and everywhere’. What a hate-filled little life you must lead. Bet you don’t get out much, either, for if you did you’d realize what a helluva great place the US is compared to the cesspools in which most of the planet lives. For you, America’s sins can never be redeemed; but I’ll just point out that America’s greatness comes from the fact that we DO try to make things a bit better, and a bit more equal in law. That’s not enough for the Left, however. They hate what America stands for, through and through.

    I imagine you’re probably some sort of warmed-over socialist who thinks that Che was a hero, no doubt, and that ‘Marx had a point’….

    “And that is going to end, starting now.”

    Actually not. The first time anyone tries to use this law to challenge, say, ‘free speech’, it’ll be blown out of the water by the USSC.

    We’re tired of the Left’s attempts to bully, and to silence all dissent.

    Good thing we’ve got the Bill of Rights, yes?

  17. Eric Jacobson says:

    “You claim to hold an “old-fashioned egalitarianism,” but this has never been an egalitarian society.”

    Sure it is; equality of opportunity, as much as that can ever be achieved. That doesn’t imply ‘equal outcomes’ nor ‘equal ability’, nor should it do so. American society provides equal treatment under the law, and the chance to make of your life what you will, far more than Europe or anywhere else.

    “This is what American history looks like from the other side: centuries of slavery; the ethnic cleansing of Indians; women who could not vote or own property until after decades of protests; Jim Crow laws and lynchings; the Tuskegee experiment; gay-bashings and “Christian” protests at the funerals of murdered gay people; Japanese-Americans in internment camps. Poverty, exploitation, job and housing discrimination, and targeted violence.”

    Ah, the Full Monty: ‘America Bad, always and everywhere’. What a hate-filled little life you must lead. Bet you don’t get out much, either, for if you did you’d realize what a helluva great place the US is compared to the cesspools in which most of the planet lives. For you, America’s sins can never be redeemed; but I’ll just point out that America’s greatness comes from the fact that we DO try to make things a bit better, and a bit more equal in law. That’s not enough for the Left, however. They hate what America stands for, through and through.

    I imagine you’re probably some sort of warmed-over socialist who thinks that Che was a hero, no doubt, and that ‘Marx had a point’….

    “And that is going to end, starting now.”

    Actually not. The first time anyone tries to use this law to challenge, say, ‘free speech’, it’ll be blown out of the water by the USSC.

    We’re tired of the Left’s attempts to bully, and to silence all dissent.

    Good thing we’ve got the Bill of Rights, yes?

  18. Eric Jacobson says:

    “Oh, gosh yes. Title 7 of the 1964 Civil rights act is SOOO un-American.”

    Unfortunately, the Civil Rights Act doesn’t apply here; blacks were discriminated against in law. GLBT are not; they enjoy the same exact rights as any other citizen. And that’s how it should be: their lives and safety should not be valued any more, or any less, than that of any other citizen.

    “Your theory might be interesting if it held up to any kind of proof, but it doesn’t. Those who murder Transgender people receive lighter sentences than those who aren’t transgender.”

    I wasn’t stating a ‘theory’, but simple historical fact. All you need do is even the most cursory investigation of European law from the Roman Empire up to the 19th century to see that the ‘upper classes’ were valued more highly than the lower in law.

    To the contrary: your ‘transgender’ comment is the theory (if that). I challenge you to produce empirical evidence that the murder of ‘transgender’ people carries lighter penalties.

    “If there is a class system in play, transgender people already occupy the lowest level.”

    Again, mere supposition. You have yet to present any empirical evidence.

    “But as I say, that’s just my old-fashioned egalitarianism coming through. Quite clearly, the idea of ‘equal treatment under the law’ is dead and buried for many in the US these days.”

    S”o you favor civil marriage for gays and lesbians?”

    Absolutely. Like anyone else, any gay man or lesbian woman can abide by the same laws as I. I cannot marry another man. Nor can my wife marry another woman. So if gays or lesbians wish to wed, they certainly can, and I’d defend their right to do so. They need merely marry someone of the opposite sex, just as I must.

    “Your “old fashion world” was one in which only white males received justice.”

    When was this? Certainly not in any European context, since women have always enjoyed some level of protection under the law from ancient times onward. We’ve made progress in that men and women now enjoy equal protection, but that’s not what you want, is it? You want UNEQUAL protection for specific interest groups, whose lives and welfare will be valued more highly than others.

    That’s okay–I just want to be clear on what it is you’re seeking. If you want that, then you can scarcely complain if other groups then try to trump your supposed grievance with even more extravagant claims of victimization.

    “Our country will be supplanted and our economy will tank because George Bush has given our wealth away to the Chinese, Japanese and funneled billions of dollars to big oil and to multinational defense contractors, not from queers trying to fight for equal justice.”

    Um, no. That’s certainly an interesting view of the world, if more than a little simplistic.

  19. Sabrina Star says:

    You claim to hold an “old-fashioned egalitarianism,” but this has never been an egalitarian society.

    This is what American history looks like from the other side: centuries of slavery; the ethnic cleansing of Indians; women who could not vote or own property until after decades of protests; Jim Crow laws and lynchings; the Tuskegee experiment; gay-bashings and “Christian” protests at the funerals of murdered gay people; Japanese-Americans in internment camps. Poverty, exploitation, job and housing discrimination, and targeted violence.

    What is “un-American” is prejudice. And prejudice doesn’t go away because you wish it away, because some guy goes on the radio and says it’s over. We’ve heard feel-good speeches for years and nothing has changed, we are still after all this time second-class citizens, we are still FAR more likely to be singled out and beaten or murdered for being different.

    So now, for once, there’s a chance a law might be passed which goes our way. You compare it to old European laws which inflicted harsher penalties for assaulting someone of the “upper class,” but your parallel fails because there is absolutely no sense in which transgendered people have been, or ever will be, an upper class. As a group we have fewer rights than any other class of people. And that is going to end, starting now.

  20. “It appears that we have people claiming that, say, the murder of one person is more heinous than the murder (or assault, or battery) of another, merely because the former victim falls into a ’special’ category. How extremely un-American.”

    Oh, gosh yes. Title 7 of the 1964 Civil rights act is SOOO un-American.

    “Europe had to contend for generations with laws which placed a greater premium on one person than another on the basis of ‘class’; if you punched a member of the upper class, the penalties were harsher than if you assaulted a member of the lower. Apparently, it’s just fine and dandy to recreate such a system in modern America.”

    Your theory might be interesting if it held up to any kind of proof, but it doesn’t. Those who murder Transgender people receive lighter sentences than those who aren’t transgender. If there is a class system in play, transgender people already occupy the lowest level.

    “But as I say, that’s just my old-fashioned egalitarianism coming through. Quite clearly, the idea of ‘equal treatment under the law’ is dead and buried for many in the US these days.”

    So you favor civil marriage for gays and lesbians?

    “I guess if you’re a white, straight, normal guy who gets offed by someone who doesn’t like you, your murder isn’t really as important as someone who’s killed because he has more melanin in his skin. Call me old-fashioned, but to me both are murder, the snuffing out of an entire world.”

    Your “old fashion world” was one in which only white males received justice. The reality is that this legislation would level the playing field.

    Our country will be supplanted and our economy will tank because George Bush has given our wealth away to the Chinese, Japanese and funneled billions of dollars to big oil and to multinational defense contractors, not from queers trying to fight for equal justice.

  21. Eric Jacobson says:

    Interesting.

    It appears that we have people claiming that, say, the murder of one person is more heinous than the murder (or assault, or battery) of another, merely because the former victim falls into a ‘special’ category. How extremely un-American.

    Europe had to contend for generations with laws which placed a greater premium on one person than another on the basis of ‘class’; if you punched a member of the upper class, the penalties were harsher than if you assaulted a member of the lower. Apparently, it’s just fine and dandy to recreate such a system in modern America.

    From the comments I see here, there are quite a few people who are totally unfamiliar with the political philosophy underpinning the American polity; I’m not surprised, given the steady erosion of educational quality these last forty years.

    So now we have ‘hate crimes’–a stance which asserts that ‘reasons’–not ‘intent’, by the by–should determine the harshness of the penalty.

    It’s no longer enough that you commit murder with malice aforethought; rather, it’s ‘against whom you direct your malice’ that counts.

    That’s a recreation of the old European system: different justice and different penalties depending upon whom you attack. And it shows the Left in its true, authoritarian, illiberal, intolerant light.

    I guess if you’re a white, straight, normal guy who gets offed by someone who doesn’t like you, your murder isn’t really as important as someone who’s killed because he has more melanin in his skin. Call me old-fashioned, but to me both are murder, the snuffing out of an entire world.

    But as I say, that’s just my old-fashioned egalitarianism coming through. Quite clearly, the idea of ‘equal treatment under the law’ is dead and buried for many in the US these days.

    It can’t last, of course; such nonsense is the sign of a decadent society, which the US surely is–and healthier, far more energetic societies are waiting in the wings to supplant us. I expect that, as the economy tanks, energy becomes scarcer, and a nuke or two eventually detonates courtesy of your local Muslim fanatic, such nonsense as this bill will seem increasingly unimportant….

  22. Eric Jacobson says:

    Interesting.

    It appears that we have people claiming that, say, the murder of one person is more heinous than the murder (or assault, or battery) of another, merely because the former victim falls into a ‘special’ category. How extremely un-American.

    Europe had to contend for generations with laws which placed a greater premium on one person than another on the basis of ‘class’; if you punched a member of the upper class, the penalties were harsher than if you assaulted a member of the lower. Apparently, it’s just fine and dandy to recreate such a system in modern America.

    From the comments I see here, there are quite a few people who are totally unfamiliar with the political philosophy underpinning the American polity; I’m not surprised, given the steady erosion of educational quality these last forty years.

    So now we have ‘hate crimes’–a stance which asserts that ‘reasons’–not ‘intent’, by the by–should determine the harshness of the penalty.

    It’s no longer enough that you commit murder with malice aforethought; rather, it’s ‘against whom you direct your malice’ that counts.

    That’s a recreation of the old European system: different justice and different penalties depending upon whom you attack. And it shows the Left in its true, authoritarian, illiberal, intolerant light.

    I guess if you’re a white, straight, normal guy who gets offed by someone who doesn’t like you, your murder isn’t really as important as someone who’s killed because he has more melanin in his skin. Call me old-fashioned, but to me both are murder, the snuffing out of an entire world.

    But as I say, that’s just my old-fashioned egalitarianism coming through. Quite clearly, the idea of ‘equal treatment under the law’ is dead and buried for many in the US these days.

    It can’t last, of course; such nonsense is the sign of a decadent society, which the US surely is–and healthier, far more energetic societies are waiting in the wings to supplant us. I expect that, as the economy tanks, energy becomes scarcer, and a nuke or two eventually detonates courtesy of your local Muslim fanatic, such nonsense as this bill will seem increasingly unimportant….

  23. little light says:

    Hate crime laws aren’t about “making some victims worth more than others,” kids, and they’re not about special privileges or even determined by who the victim is. A crime against a member of a given protected group, for arbitrary reasons, is not a hate crime, and cannot be successfully prosecuted as one. It’s not “educational” in purpose and it’s not a punishment of thought-crime.

    We take motive into account, and intent, in many crimes. Prosecuting someone for murder, rather than manslaughter, is not prosecuting someone twice–once for killing a person, once for meaning to on purpose–and consideration of context determines what that crime is.

    Taking into account context and compound acts is not prosecuting for other than an action–when a murder takes place, we account for whether or not a weapon was used; if the weapon was a vehicle, we add on charges for reckless driving; if the crime involved threats beforehand, or rape, or aggravated assault, those considerations are added in. These are not going after “thoughtcrime” or “prosecuting twice for the same crime,” and only “educational” in that punishment of crime is meant to be a deterrent to others in all cases, and that deterrent seeks to communicate that motive and intent matter.

    So why the special consideration of hate crime? As I put out here (http://takingsteps.blogspot.com/2006/11/you-cant-be-white-hat-without-tied.html) a hate crime assault is qualitatively and quantitatively different from a simple assault, ditto murder, arson, vandalism, and rape. A hate crime is a compound act, and it is determined not by whether or not the victim belongs to a minority group–if I were to set out to terrorize the straight community with targeted vandalism, or attack white people on the grounds that they’re white and I want to send a message to white people everywhere, those would be justifiably prosecuted as hate crimes. A hate crime adds onto the simple act a second act, of using a crime in order to send an intimidating message to an entire community. Failing to take into account this portion of the act–regardless of the crime’s target–is a failure to take into account the whole crime, no more or less than failing to take into account motive, intent, use of weapons, involvement of a vehicle or intoxicants, and so on. It’s a failure to properly examine and prosecute a whole act.

    The target isn’t the point. When people vandalized my parents’ house to try and intimidate them on an ethnic basis, it didn’t matter that my parents were not actually members of the ethnic group these criminals were trying to frighten. It’s the motive, intent and method that matter, not the victim.

    So if you don’t support treating murder one and manslaughter 3 and vehicular assault exactly the same, why get so touchy about hate crime legislation? What is it that you have to lose, other than the ability to send threatening messages to whole groups of people with targeted violent acts with impunity? Why is it that you’re concerned about losing that privilege?

  24. little light says:

    Hate crime laws aren’t about “making some victims worth more than others,” kids, and they’re not about special privileges or even determined by who the victim is. A crime against a member of a given protected group, for arbitrary reasons, is not a hate crime, and cannot be successfully prosecuted as one. It’s not “educational” in purpose and it’s not a punishment of thought-crime.

    We take motive into account, and intent, in many crimes. Prosecuting someone for murder, rather than manslaughter, is not prosecuting someone twice–once for killing a person, once for meaning to on purpose–and consideration of context determines what that crime is.

    Taking into account context and compound acts is not prosecuting for other than an action–when a murder takes place, we account for whether or not a weapon was used; if the weapon was a vehicle, we add on charges for reckless driving; if the crime involved threats beforehand, or rape, or aggravated assault, those considerations are added in. These are not going after “thoughtcrime” or “prosecuting twice for the same crime,” and only “educational” in that punishment of crime is meant to be a deterrent to others in all cases, and that deterrent seeks to communicate that motive and intent matter.

    So why the special consideration of hate crime? As I put out here (http://takingsteps.blogspot.com/2006/11/you-cant-be-white-hat-without-tied.html) a hate crime assault is qualitatively and quantitatively different from a simple assault, ditto murder, arson, vandalism, and rape. A hate crime is a compound act, and it is determined not by whether or not the victim belongs to a minority group–if I were to set out to terrorize the straight community with targeted vandalism, or attack white people on the grounds that they’re white and I want to send a message to white people everywhere, those would be justifiably prosecuted as hate crimes. A hate crime adds onto the simple act a second act, of using a crime in order to send an intimidating message to an entire community. Failing to take into account this portion of the act–regardless of the crime’s target–is a failure to take into account the whole crime, no more or less than failing to take into account motive, intent, use of weapons, involvement of a vehicle or intoxicants, and so on. It’s a failure to properly examine and prosecute a whole act.

    The target isn’t the point. When people vandalized my parents’ house to try and intimidate them on an ethnic basis, it didn’t matter that my parents were not actually members of the ethnic group these criminals were trying to frighten. It’s the motive, intent and method that matter, not the victim.

    So if you don’t support treating murder one and manslaughter 3 and vehicular assault exactly the same, why get so touchy about hate crime legislation? What is it that you have to lose, other than the ability to send threatening messages to whole groups of people with targeted violent acts with impunity? Why is it that you’re concerned about losing that privilege?

  25. sabrina Star says:

    A hate crime is not just a crime against an individual, it is a crime against an entire community.

    A white man does not feel like he has been “sent a message” every time a white man is killed, in the same way that a black person feels they have been sent a message every time a black person is lynched.

    And that message is this: Your kind doesn’t count. Your kind has no right to live in peace. Your kind has no say. Your kind has to listen and take what we dish out. Your kind is outnumbered and powerless, and we will always win over you. Your pleas of protest will be shouted down. Your cries for justice will be stifled.

    THAT is why we need hate crimes laws – to balance the injustices of sexism, racism, and homophobia.

  26. “There is no need for this legislation. A crime is a crime and the punishment should be consistant no matter who the victim is. ”

    Oh really? Tell that to the parents of Chanelle Pickett. She was strangled to death. Her murderer was sentenced to 4 years in prison. Your kind talk of pie in the sky rhetoric, but have no clue as to what actually happens in the real world. The world “SHOULD BE” roses and daffodils, but it ain’t.

    “Why add to our already overburdened statues, because lawyers are making us think we need them. They have perpetuated this myth on us for the last 50 years, time for this insanity to stop.”

    Reality shines right through your statement. The insanity that should stop, I totally agree. Transgender people are human beings and should be viewed as equal to everyone else in the criminal justice system. Unfortunately, the reality differs from what “should be.”

  27. “There are already laws at the state and local level that provide for law enforcement and punishment of such crimes.”

    Sorry, you’re wrong. If you live in Indiana, there are no such protections.

    “We do not want the federal government to have jurisdiction nor do we want to increase the size of our government and it’s spending so that we (the stupid americans) can be educated against such crimes.”

    Heh. I could respect that if Republicans hadn’t been the at the helm when creating Homeland Security.

    Oh, and “stupid americans” should be “stupid Americans.” Was that bad grammar or subtle irony?

    “Everyone knows that it’s wrong to hurt or cause harm to another individual.”

    This isn’t a bill that educates everyone on what hate is. It levels the playing field when crimes of violence are perpetrated against someone because they are GLBT. If an equal crime got equal time, I might see your point, but it doesn’t. If every crime was investigated with an equal amount of thoroughness, I might agree, but it doesn’t.

  28. J Jackson says:

    There is no need for this legislation. A crime is a crime and the punishment should be consistant no matter who the victim is. Why add to our already overburdened statues, because lawyers are making us think we need them. They have perpetuated this myth on us for the last 50 years, time for this insanity to stop.

  29. J Jackson says:

    There is no need for this legislation. A crime is a crime and the punishment should be consistant no matter who the victim is. Why add to our already overburdened statues, because lawyers are making us think we need them. They have perpetuated this myth on us for the last 50 years, time for this insanity to stop.

  30. John Lovrovich says:

    There are already laws at the state and local level that provide for law enforcement and punishment of such crimes.

    We do not want the federal government to have jurisdiction nor do we want to increase the size of our government and it’s spending so that we (the stupid americans) can be educated against such crimes. Everyone knows that it’s wrong to hurt or cause harm to another individual.

    Please do not support this bill.

    thank you

  31. John Lovrovich says:

    There are already laws at the state and local level that provide for law enforcement and punishment of such crimes.

    We do not want the federal government to have jurisdiction nor do we want to increase the size of our government and it’s spending so that we (the stupid americans) can be educated against such crimes. Everyone knows that it’s wrong to hurt or cause harm to another individual.

    Please do not support this bill.

    thank you