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Hate crime laws.

Old 11-15-05, 09:27 AM
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Hate crime laws.

Let's say that two murders are committed. Both murders are premeditated.

The two murders are the exact same, except for one difference: one murder was based on greed, and the other murder was based on hate (the hate could be based on race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation).

In each case, there is videotape evidence of the murder, which clearly shows the face of the person committing the murder, and an audio recording of the murderer explaining his motivation for committing the murder. You are certain that each murderer is guilty. And you are certain of the motive for each murder.

1) What should the punishment be for the person who committed the murder based on greed?

2) What should the punishment be for the person who committed the murder based on hate?
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Old 11-15-05, 09:30 AM
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When you start legislating punishment for crimes based on the attitudes of the criminal then you have started legislating thought.
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Old 11-15-05, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
When you start legislating punishment for crimes based on the attitudes of the criminal then you have started legislating thought.
What about the difference between premeditated murder, and heat of the moment murder? Don't those get different sentences? And the only difference is with premeditated murder, someone thinks about doing it for a while before they actually do it?
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Old 11-15-05, 09:39 AM
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1. Death or life in Prison
2. Death or life in Prison plus 7 years or so.
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Old 11-15-05, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by joeblow69
What about the difference between premeditated murder, and heat of the moment murder? Don't those get different sentences? And the only difference is with premeditated murder, someone thinks about doing it for a while before they actually do it?
IMO it's the (subtle) difference between state of mind and general attitudes.
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Old 11-15-05, 09:42 AM
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Isn't 'heat of the moment' murder generally called manslaughter?
The term murder implies intent, "I wanted to/planned to kill him", not just, "Oh carp I got involved in a bar fight and started swinging chairs."

I think that if a murder was done with willful intent [ie, not manslaughter], the punishment should be the same whatever that intent was [because he was rich or because he was a minority]. "Hate crime" laws have always bugged me, because yes, you are making a crime worse merely because of the thoughts someone had while/before committing it. The murder should be punished, not the thoughts. And it's odd that hate-crime-law supporters generally tend to be more leftward, who you would think would support free speech, etc.
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Old 11-15-05, 09:49 AM
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Murder is the intentional killing of a person. It need not be premeditated, only intentional. For example, if you push me on the street, and I shoot you, it's murder, since I intended your death, even though it was not premeditated. Manslaughter essentially covers killing of a person that doesn't involve murder.
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Old 11-15-05, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by dtcarson
Isn't 'heat of the moment' murder generally called manslaughter?
The term murder implies intent, "I wanted to/planned to kill him", not just, "Oh carp I got involved in a bar fight and started swinging chairs."
Yeah, I was talking about the difference between first and second degree murder, not manslaughter.

But anyway, isn't motive always taken into consideration when a figuring out a sentence?
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Old 11-15-05, 09:54 AM
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The whole reason behind hate crimes is to keep these people off the streets longer because anybody who belongs to the hate groups could be a potential victim. Compare to a crime of passion, which is inspired by particular circumstances...generally a one time thing.

But this is the sort of thing that should be at the discretion of the judge at sentencing, rather than legislated.
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Old 11-15-05, 09:56 AM
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The question grundle is asking - whether motive should be a factor - is somewhat disingenous. Motive is always a factor in sentencing. To say otherwise would imply that a husband's premediated killing of his wife's rapist (after the attack) should receive the same punishment as a husband's premediated murder of his wife for insurance money. In my opinion, that's absurd.

On the other hand, I do not believe they are different crimes. They are both murder. Such distinctions are why we have judges assign sentencing for each individual based on the circumstances of the crime and legislated guidelines rather than by legislative mandate.
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Old 11-15-05, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by grundle

1) What should the punishment be for the person who committed the murder based on greed?

2) What should the punishment be for the person who committed the murder based on hate?
I'd say

1) 20 years

2) 20 years + lifetime voting ban
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Old 11-15-05, 10:05 AM
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1) a) death sentence if the murder was committed in the commission of a felony (robbery, kidnapping, arson)
-or -
b) Life without parole if the murder was not part of the commission of another felony


2) Life without parole
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Old 11-15-05, 11:00 AM
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While I disagree w/ HCL if you are going to have them my biggest concern is whether or not they are going to be applied fairly. Consider in the example above w/ scenario 2 (the hate based crime) whether or not if it was a majority on minority crime v minority on majority crime. If the laws/extra sentencing applies in both directions there is some balance, but I think we'll have to wait for awhile to see if that is actually the case (although I seem to vaguely recall there was a minority on majority crime that was prosecuted as a HC and there was some outrage over that decision, but maybe I'm misremembering).

My other general concern is how does one prove it is a hate crime in the first place? In the given example that's not a problem. Real life is rarely that simple and I can easily see HCL being applied more for political/societal reasons than due to the actual crime.
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Old 11-15-05, 11:23 AM
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1) Death sentence.
2) Death sentence.
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Old 11-15-05, 11:28 AM
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A little stiffer penalty for the hate crime.

Hate crimes are designed to send a message and intimidate a group of people. Thus there are essentially additional victims in a hate crime murder, compared to a typical murder that only affects the victim and his/her family and friends.

As such a little extra punishment is warranted both from the just deserts and deterrence perspectives.
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Old 11-15-05, 11:38 AM
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Let's say that two acts of vandalism are committed. Both acts are premeditated.

The two murders are the exact same, except for one difference: one involved painting "Steve was here" on the wall of a synagogue and the other involved painting "Death to the Jews" on the wall of a synagogue.

In each case, there is videotape evidence of the vandalism, which clearly shows the face of the person committing the vandalism. You are certain that each vandal is guilty.

1) What should the punishment be for the person who painted "Steve was here"?

2) What should the punishment be for the person who painted "Death to the Jews"?
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Old 11-15-05, 11:41 AM
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The hate crime vandalism should get a little stiffer punishment as well.

They shouldn't be limited to just violent crimes.

"Steve was here" is just destruction of property. "death to jews" is destruction of property PLUS sending a message to frighten the jews in the area, thus it warrants extra punishment both from the just deserts and deterrence perspectives.
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Old 11-15-05, 11:51 AM
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Equal punishment for vandalism.

The crime was defacing property. What is writen is inconsequencial to the crime. Saying that what one person wrote is "not as bad" as what another person wrote causes more issues than one person's hate for an organized religion.
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Old 11-15-05, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by JasonF
1) What should the punishment be for the person who painted "Steve was here"?

2) What should the punishment be for the person who painted "Death to the Jews"?

What should the punishment be for the person who painted "God is dead"? Is that just a statement or is it hateful rhetoric?
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Old 11-15-05, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by nemein
What should the punishment be for the person who painted "God is dead"? Is that just a statement or is it hateful rhetoric?
That's not a threat at any specific group and thus not comparable to "death to jews."
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Old 11-15-05, 12:17 PM
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"Death to Jews" can be considered a message of threat, and it seems more simple to use the charge of making threats in addition to vandalism so there isn't a need to bring in hate crime charge.

Here's a couple more examples:
1) Man rapes some random woman & calls her "bitch".
2) Man rapes some random woman & calls her the "n-word".
Both words can be casually used but still can be very offensive.
Should this man receive the same sentence in both cases?
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Old 11-15-05, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by JasonF
1) What should the punishment be for the person who painted "Steve was here"?

2) What should the punishment be for the person who painted "Death to the Jews"?
Punishing those crimes under different statutes would make me a little uneasy. I find the latter abhorent, buy my reaction is based on content of the speech. While the method of expression was clearly illegal, I have an issue with punishing the crimes under separate statute based on content.

If two people was both illegally passing out leaflets (tresspass), should the one passing out neonazi propaganda be punished under a different crime from the one passing out a business advertisement? Would this pass a challenge based on the First Amendment? I wonder if there have been any cases....
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Old 11-15-05, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Josh Hinkle
That's not a threat at any specific group and thus not comparable to "death to jews."
The point behind HCL though is to target the intent of the perpetrator is it not? The same hate that lead to the person paiting "death to Jews" could led the person to paint "death to God" or "God is dead" so shouldn't it be treated the same? The members of the synagogue may feel just as threatened by either message since it is the original act of vandalizm that is the really scary "I can hurt you" part IMHO.
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Old 11-15-05, 12:29 PM
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On the flip side say a burgler only targets women to satisfy his breaking and entering habit. There's no violence to the woman committed during the crime, and while the places are completely trashed there's no anti-women slogans left. Would this prosecuted as a hate crime? I suspect some would try to have it be that way even though that may have had nothing to do w/ why the person picked only women.

Substitute blacks for women, do you think it would be treated differently? How about whites instead do you think would make a difference? I strongly suspect so, but maybe that's just the cynic in me

Last edited by nemein; 11-15-05 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 11-15-05, 12:36 PM
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You people who don't think that painting "God is Dead" is a hate crime: I'll have you know that there's ONLY ONE of Him! He's the ULTIMATE minority group.!
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