Hate Crime Epiphany

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The biggest reason we have hate crime laws is because the hateful motivation is taken as a de facto threat against others. As the NY legislature said, "Crimes motivated by invidious hatred toward particular groups not only harm individual victims but send a powerful message of intolerance and discrimination to all members of the group to which the victim belongs."

So in essence, when you are convicted of a hate crime, you are being convicted of the crime of threatening, or intimidating, a protected class of people. However, where is the evidence you've committed this crime? Where is the intent? The intent is the motive: that you hate that group of people.

Intent and motive are separate. But in hate crime laws, they are not. If you have a hateful motive in killing someone, you therefore are assumed to have the intent of intimidating or threatening people. That is a clear violation of the due process clauses of the 5th and 14th amendments.

(Note: my claim here is different from another common due process argument against hate crime laws, which is that they are unconstitutionally vague.)

The ACLU thinks that the current hate crimes bill in Congress protects due process. Now, they do have a good point, which is that past laws used any evidence of hate against a group as evidence of hateful motivation, and this bill does not: the hateful speech or association has to be specifically connected to the crime to be considered as such evidence. That's a good start, but at the end of the day, hateful motivation for the crime is still taken as de facto proof of intent of a separate crime: to threaten or intimidate a class of people. And that still violates due process. slashdot.org

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on June 13, 2007 11:17 AM.

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