Hate Crimes

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by emt1, Dec 3, 2008.

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What is your opinion on hate crime laws?

  1. Support. They should be maintained or expanded.

    27 vote(s)
    45.0%
  2. Support, but they should be reduced.

    6 vote(s)
    10.0%
  3. Do not support. Eliminate them.

    27 vote(s)
    45.0%
  1. emt1 macrumors 65816

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    #1
    What is your opinion on hate crime laws?

    I think that they should be eliminated. They insinuate that it's worse to kill someone because they are black or gay than it is to kill someone for no reason. I think that all murders are equally bad and the reason doesn't really matter.

    Beat up a homosexual? Go to jail for 10 years.
    Beat up someone for giving you a dirty look? Go to jail for 10 years.

    P.S. You can't accuse me of being anti-minority. I'm bisexual. I don't think someone should get "additional" jail time for beating me up just because I'm bisexual.
     
  2. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #2
    On the surface, hate crime laws are wrong, since they seem to imply that one group is somehow more "deserving of justice" than another.

    However, that would ignore the realities on the ground. Hate crime laws aren't so much about giving more justice to one group, but rather they are about providing justice to groups that in some locales have no equal protection.

    Take the South during the 1960s. Do you honestly think a Georgian jury would find a white man guilty of killing a black person? Such verdicts were few and far between. By passing hate crime legislation, the Federal government can prosecute such crimes when it knows that local governments won't. In fact, generally speaking the Federal government rarely makes use of hate crime statutes; it's most frequent use is when the Justice Department (usually with the help of local DAs) feels that justice was not done.
     
  3. iParis macrumors 68040

    iParis

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    #3
    I'm bi too and if someone beat me up because I'm by then I would want them to serve a longer sentence.
     
  4. emt1 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #4
    So you're saying that it would be more forgivable if they were beating you up to steal your money?
     
  5. emt1 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #5
    Is it right to create a means for the federal government to circumvent injustices done by local justice systems? Is that the federal government's place?
     
  6. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #6
    I believe crimes committed with bias towards a specific social group are worthy of receiving harsher punishments because they have extremely detrimental effects on society as a whole.

    That being said, I can definitely understand the contrary opinion where 'murder is murder' and all crimes are equal regardless of motivation.

    However, if bias motivated crimes are included in the law, it needs to be extended to all social groups, including gender, sexual orientation, and disability (none of which are currently included in Federal hate crime legislation). Failure you to so is a bias within itself.
     
  7. iParis macrumors 68040

    iParis

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    #7
    Well, not forgivable.
    But if the sole reason they beat ME up and stole MY money as oppose to somebody else's because I'm bi then I would definitely want then to serve a longer sentence..
    By longer I don't mean a drastically longer, just an extension based from the crime committed and/or original sentence.
     
  8. Chaszmyr macrumors 601

    Chaszmyr

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    #8
    I think there's a sense in which hate crimes are actually worse. Generally speaking when someone is murdered, terrible as it may be, the person who was killed was probably somehow involved in a conflict that ultimately led to the murder. Sure, their part almost certainly didn't justify their death, but they did have a part. In a hate crime, however, the victim will generally have done absolutely nothing to the murderer, and may have never seen it coming.
     
  9. emt1 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #9
    Where does the list of variables end?
    -Sexual orientation
    -Religion
    -Age
    -Socio-economic status
    -Gender
    -Weight
    -Color of hair

    The list could go on forever. Why not just make all murders/assaults/crimes equal. They are all very bad.
     
  10. emt1 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #10
    You can't just say that. This isn't even an argument. There are non-hate crimes where the victim was 100% innocent and there are "hate" crimes where the victim may have provoked it.
     
  11. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #11
    I certainly would.

    If they were simple thugs, I would know that they harbor no specific feelings of malice towards my kind; they're just douches.

    If they target me because I belong to a particular minority, then that makes them bigots and douches.
    Is it right for the criminal justice system to only provide justice to the majority?

    Seeing as how the 14th Amendment specifically forbids this, I'd say it's definitely within the purview of the Federal government to do this.
     
  12. emt1 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #12
    Being a bigot is not a crime. Welcome to America.

    But it doesn't only provide justice for the majority. Is it right for the justice system to provide extra protection for minorities?
     
  13. emt1 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #13
    You just contradicted yourself. Based on your second statement, it is more forgivable if they beat you up for your money rather than your sexual orientation.

    I would like to propose a question for everybody.

    Imagine that you were severely injured after being assaulted by someone who's intent was to rob you. They were sentenced to 2 years in prison.

    You hear on the news that someone received similar injuries to yours, but they were assaulted because they were gay. That criminal received 7 years due to hate crime laws.


    How would you feel about that?
     
  14. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #14
    Does the list necessarily need to end? All crimes motivated based on the victim's physical characteristics or social affiliations should be treated with extra scrutiny.

    You need to think of the ramifications hate crimes have on society as a whole. Hate crimes are more likely to result in retaliation, inflict emotional harm on entire groups of people, and incite community unrest.

    Which would trouble you more, reading in the paper about a random murder in your community, or reading that a social group of which you are associated was specifically targeted in a string of related killings?
     
  15. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #15
    The standard used is really very simple and intelligible: a group that has previously been persecuted and denied access to equality.

    I'm pretty sure that hair color hasn't been the basis of persecution for most Americans, while sexual orientation, gender, and race have been.

    We're not talking about idle bigots, we're talking about bigots who break the law.

    If you honestly believe that everyone has access to equal justice in America, then maybe I ought to tell you, "welcome to America."
    :confused:

    Have you not learned anything from history? Look at the South from the 1870s all the way through to today.

    Heck, look at LA circa 1992.
    It doesn't provide any meaningful "extra" protection, merely protection that will actually let the minority have access to protection that the majority enjoys.

    If you commit a hate crime and the local jury convicts you, then Federal legislation won't go into effect.

    If the local DA doesn't charge you because of local animosity towards that minority, then at least the victim still has a path to justice.
     
  16. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #16
    Acting on those feelings, however, is.
     
  17. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #17
    Exactly.

    In many cases, minorities in some areas can't expect local DAs to do anything to protect them. What's your answer to them? "Sucks to be you"?
     
  18. FreeState macrumors 68000

    FreeState

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    #18
    Maybe because the are not all equal. I served jury duty on a murder case and we had to decide if it was 1st or 2nd degree murder - because motivation and intent are important in accessing a crime and its punishment.

    One thing people seem to overlook is when your talking about hate crime law, for example with sexual orientation is that it covers everyone. If a straight person is a victim of a crime because that person is straight it is an additional time in sentencing (for states that have such laws). Hate crime laws cover everyone equally - they do not give special protection to one group over the other but rather say that bias against a group - no matter what group- is wrong.
     
  19. itcheroni macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    I think everyone here has made very well thought out responses. Good job. :)

    Being part of a minority group doesn't absolve you from any and all bigotry. A black man can indeed be racist against other black men. Larry Craig can be against gay rights. It's a lame deflection.

    It especially irks me when people use their minority status as a license to say whatever they want with impunity. But I do find it hilarious when people try to do the same thing with "a friend." Like Palin's gay friend, whoever he or she is, allows her to say anything she wants about gays.
     
  20. emt1 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #20
    You've got me pegged. I'm a racist bisexual.
     
  21. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #21
    I know you're being sarcastic, but there really isn't much relevance to the fact that you're bi.

    You shouldn't need to qualify your arguments on the basis of who you are.
     
  22. Chaszmyr macrumors 601

    Chaszmyr

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    #22
    If the victim did something, then it's more than just a hate crime, so that argument doesn't hold up. The other one does, but I'd bet that it's extremely rare for there to be particularly serious crimes where the victim had no previous contact with the criminal.
     
  23. Iscariot macrumors 68030

    Iscariot

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    #23
    Poorly implemented hate crime laws in Canada can be a source of frustration and censorship of individuals at the behest of special interest groups. While I can see the impetus for laws regarding hate crimes, they have to be implemented with extreme caution, especially if they have any effect on any of the fundamental rights or freedoms of individuals.
     
  24. 63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #24
    Today, I will be gearing up for my midterm in Criminal Law in law school.

    The five elements of a crime are the intent, act, concurrence, causation, and harm that results.

    Special circumstances to battery, aggravated battery, and homicide (muder 1, murder 2, felony manslaughter, and misdemeanor manslaughter) can range from additional factors such as hate crimes, treason, and number of victims as key additional elements to lengthen the sentence.

    Traditionally, if it's a certain class of felony being committed, and a hate crime is one of them as being battery, and more likely aggravated battery, and the victim dies, even without the intent to kill the victim, then we are talking possible death penalty, murder 1 case.

    Covering most states, in addition to assault and battery, a felony that can be bumped up to murder 1 if the victim dies are the additional felonies of burglary, arson, rape, robbery, and kidnapping.

    If you are committing other felonies, and the intent to kill is not there, then there will likely not be a murder 1 charge. In the felony of receiving stolen goods, if the defendant is in the process of let's say receiving a large piece of stolen machinery that is dangerous, and it blows up and kills somebody, then murder 1 is off the books. However, if you are stealing that piece of machinery in a burglary and it blows up and kills somebody in the other room, and the defendant didn't know there was somebody there, it's still potentially murder 1. Cherry picking certain felonies is called the Felony Murder Rule and though the commission of felonies not intentionally murder that can go wrong in its commission and lead to a murder 1 charge if somebody dies absolutely includes hate crimes.

    So among the scores of felonies out there, hate crimes do elevate the potential sentence. In most courts, a battery leading to a death will likely result in a murder 2 sentence, but maybe murder 1. If that battery is a hate crime, then we are talking murder 1/death penalty in most states.

    However, California is not a Model Penal Code state and a little more lenient on battery as a felony murder rule element and if the defendant is found guilty of murder 1 in commission of a hate crime, it's more like a life sentence and not the death penalty. 34 states say otherwise and most of those 34 will more likely put the defendant on death row if the felony was an aggravated battery resulting in an unintentional homicide.

    We may all have our personal or moral considerations to how we feel about hate crimes, but what is proximate (legal) is what statutes and codes of each particular state say, and that does not recognize moral consideration or point of view. Right now, in America, hate crimes are an extra element that can elevate a sentence. If you like that hate crimes can add sentence time to a felony, then fine. If not, then find a candidate for Congress who thinks that hate crimes should not be an elevating factor in a sentence, and vote for them.
     
  25. 63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #25
    And if that act is a crime, and the prosecutor shows a link to an intent of a hate crime, then the sentence is increased.
     

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