Hate Crime Law: Due Process Violation

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I know, I've brought this up before, but here we go again. Congress is trying to pass a law that would make crimes based on sexual orientation "hate crimes" under federal statutes.

Dan Savage, syndicated sex columnist, was on Colbert tonight. He said:

The pro-hate-crimes-legislation argument is about pluralism, really, and about how our democracy functions, because when someone targets a person because of their faith, or their sexual orientation, or their race, it's really an attack not just against that person as an individual, but an attempt to terrorize the entire group, to make all African Americans feel insecure, to make all gays and lesbians feel at risk ...

In order to show a crime, you must show two things: first, that the criminal act happened, and second, that there was intent to commit that act. Hate crime laws bypass the need to show that the crime of "terrorizing the entire group" actually happened, or that the accused intended to commit that crime. It takes "hate" as both evidence of crime, and intent.

This is a clear violation of the constitutional right of due process, as stated in the Fifth Amendment.

My argument here is not against adding sexual orientation to hate crime laws, but against hate crime laws themselves. I do have a problem with adding sexual orientation in particular to hate crime laws: even though I disagree with having special protected classes, I believe that if we're going to have such classes, there should be very widespread, long-standing, and institutionalized discrimination against that class that continues to have significant negative effects for that class of people. And I don't think sexual orientation fits that.

Regardless, I am talking here not about that, but about hate crimes themselves. They are unconstitutional, because they pretend that there is evidence of a crime and intent to commit that crime without actually supplying that evidence. slashdot.org

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