The Boohabian Standard for Hate Crime

Deadlinks refreshed Jan 2003

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Richard Kim - The Truth About Hate Crimes Laws
The Nation, June, 1999
Michael Bowen - Hate Crime: Healing vs Curing
November, 1998
Georgia Bias Crimes Information and Documentation Act
'Bias crime' means any crime that hinders any person's exercise of the enjoyment of rights ... because of the status of a person...
Stop Hate
Arguments about the even-handedness of HateCrime reporting from Parterre.
Senate Bill S1529 - Hate Crimes Prevention Bill of 1998


The Basic Idea:
To win a hate crime prosecution, the prosecution has to show a clear expression of group hatred through the felony. It is not a "hate crime" merely because the perpetrator hates people of that group. The crime has to be intended to communicate that hatred of the group to the victim. The idea that police search for hidden hate motivations is antithetical to the notion of hate crime. Hate crime statutes don't enhance your punishment merely for thinking bad thoughts. They enhance your punishment for committing your crime in a manner that creates added psychological injury to the victim and society.


Racial Identification NO, but

In any ordinary crime, the race of the suspect should not be identified unless:

  1. The charges brought against the subject are specific to a hate crime OR
  2. The suspect remains at large and the police have requested the media to broadcast information for the purposes of enlisting public assistance in their apprehension of the suspect.
Mandatory Sentencing NO there is a difference between having a hate crime law in one's quiver as a district attorney and having mandatory sentencing to force the hand of judges.

it's clearly up to the discretion of district attorneys as to which laws they will prosecute. I am in favor of hate crimes as aggravating factors to crimes already on the books, not as a new class of crimes in and of themselves.
Reporting of Arrests YES

Reporting of hate 'crimes' is a different matter and should be mandated. Even if racial/sexual/religious animus as proximate cause to a crime is not proven in court beyond a reasonable doubt, the public should be informed about arrests made on those grounds.

In other words we shouldn't put the cart before the horse and try to establish a rule for prosecution until we can establish a standard for definition in arrests. Although prosecutorial choice is important (they need to make whatever case they can) it shouldn't be the record of prosecutions which informs the public, rather the record of arrests/complaints.

What I don't want to see is a situation in which someone could point to a year of statistics based on the rate of convictions which may grossly understate the prevalence of hate crimes themselves. Nor do I want to see judges forced to add penalties in cases where proximate cause is subject to broad interpretation.

I would like to see information made available to the public which is credible as regards the incidence of hate crime such that communities can take action. If indeed a town like Bensonhurst *is* hostile to blacks, then that community should not be able to hide behind an 'aberration' excuse. If a district attorney is prosecuting only one kind of hate crime and not another, then that kind of information should be open to public scrutiny.