Five Main Characteristics of Hate Crimes

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  • Topic: Hate crime, Crime, Hate crime laws in the United States
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FIVE MAIN CHARATERISTICS OF HATE CRIMES
By
Tameka Young, Fred Harris, Coretta Rainey, Tim Tala, and Tanaia Reid American Intercontinental University
February 16, 2012
Introduction to Law Enforcement
Professor Major Wenda Phifer
Thursday 8:30-11:30 am

Abstract
In this paper hates crimes or bias crimes such as, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and ethnicity are discussed. There will be real world examples of hate crimes or bias crimes and ways or programs that are set up to protect citizens. Hate crimes and hate incidents-those that are motivated by an offender’s bias against an individual’s or group’s race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnic/national origin, gender, or age- are also major issues for the police because of their unique impact or victims and the community. Hate crime laws have been adopted on the federal and state level that increases the penalties for crimes committed when the motivation by the race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or disability of the victim. Crimes against an individual usually affects only that individual, but hate crimes are intended to terrorize an entire group or class of people. Therefore, the impact of a hate crime is far greater and should be penalized more severely. The Georgia Supreme Court voted 7-0 to throw out the state’s existing hate crimes law because, unlike other similar laws, does not list groups that could be victims and therefore is “unconstitutionally vague”.

Bias is a preformed negative opinion or attitude toward a group of persons based on their race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity/national origin. There are 7,800 hate-crime offenses involving 9,100 victims are reported annually, and those numbers are increasing steadily. (Peak, 2012). (pg.441). People fear what they do not know, but that stems from ignorance and the unwillingness to understand and to be open minded. In 1990, Congress passed the Hate Crimes Statistics Act, which forced the police to collect statistics on hate crimes, and several states have since enacted statutes that place higher penalties on crimes that have a hate motive. (Peak, 2012). (p.439). Sexual Orientation bias

Crimes against a person sexual orientation are crimes against gays, lesbians, and transsexuals. However, in the state of Georgia as we all know there is no such law for hate crimes. “The Georgia law allowed for increased penalties for crimes when a victim is chosen because of “bias or prejudice”. The court said that standard could be applied to any prejudice, “no matter how obscure, whimsical or unrelated to the victim”. (Montaldo, Georgia Hate Crimes Law Tossed by Court, 2004). “The federal hate crime laws do include the term “sexual orientation”. “As of July 2004, seven states have no hate crimes law at all, 20 states have hate crimes laws that do not protect sexual orientation, and 24 states have hate crimes laws that do include sexual orientation. In 2002, 12,073 law enforcement agencies reported 7,462 hate crime incidents, according to the FBI Hate Crime Statistics 2002”. (Montaldo, Hate Crime Laws and Sexual Orientation, 2004).

Some real world examples of sexual orientation hate crimes are the Matthew Shepard story, The Teena Brandon story, The Shandra Sharer story, and James Byrd Jr. story.
The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. hate crimes prevention act “gives the Justice Department the power to investigate and prosecute bias motivated violence by providing the Department with jurisdiction over crimes of violence where the perpetrator has selected the victim because of the person’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability”. “The Act provides the Justice Department with the ability to aid state and local jurisdictions either by lending assistance or, where local authorities are unwilling or unable, by taking the lead in...
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