Do Not Take This Man’s Advice

Seriously.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenan is urging the state Legislature to pass a hate crimes bill when it convenes in January.

Keenan specifically urged members of a Senate committee Thursday to revive S.B. 555, which remains stalled in the Senate Rules Committee. The bill is sponsored by state Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta.

13 comments

  1. Mike Hauncho says:

    In our efforts not to discriminate in this country we keep finding ways to do so. Affirmative action is one and hate crimes is another. There is nothing in the law that says you can’t hate someone so how can you charge someone with a hate crime. It is still the same crime whether it was white on black, black on white, white on white, or any other races.

  2. ChuckEaton says:

    I always felt like “Hate Crime” legislation is a bunch of Orwellian, feel-good crap.

    My favorite example was the James Byrd Texas dragging murder and the subsequent ad Gore ran against Bush with Byrd’s daughter voicing over, “When Gov. George Bush refused to support hate crimes legislation, it was like my father was killed all over again.”

    The press and all the liberals bashed Bush for not supporting the James Byrd Texas Hate Crime Legislation. I can hear all the whining quotes as if it were yesterday. It was a purely emotional argument with a complete absence of rational reasoning.

    What the press failed to mention was 2 of the 3 men convicted for the heinous crime were given the death penalty and the third received life in prison – believe it or not this was accomplished without hate crime legislation!

    The hate crime law introduces a class-warfare variable into our judicial system.

  3. kevpriest says:

    I disagree that hate crime legislation is about targeting groups, but I agree with you that hate crime legislation is easily abused.

    I believe the intent of making something a “hate crime” is to suggest that there’s something more insidious about the crime than just the underlying crime itself. This is a perfectly honorable intention. Because the selected target was chosen based on race (or some other characteristic of identity), the intent is to do more than kill (or rape, or maim, or assault), the intent is to induce terror in a target population.

    If a man premeditatively kills a woman, then the intent was to commit murder. If a man kills a Jewish woman and makes it clear by his words or actions that she was selected because she is Jewish, then the intent is larger than to simply murder a woman; the intent is to frighten all Jews. That’s a different crime.

    I often hear people complain that hate crime legislation is “thought crime” legislation, but I think this is wrong-headed. A well-intended hate-crime statute is intended to protect the interests of populations that have, in the past, been targets of terroristic crimes. A more honest critique, I think, is that hate-crime statutes are too open to abuse and misinterpretation, and that they may engender a sense of inequality among other victims that might feel that a rape of a non-minority woman is somehow less egregious than the rape of a minority woman. Those are fair criticisms, and need to be considered before we add more laws to the books.

  4. ChuckEaton says:

    Here is a story about a Texas fan who was nearly castrated for wearing a Texas Football shirt into an Oklahoma Bar.

    It was clear by the Oklahoma fan’s words and actions that he was targeting the man because he was part of the Texas football fan “group”. You could easily make the argument that the irate man was targeting this Texas football characteristic and his intent is to frighten all Texas fans who enter the Oklahoma bar.

    I wonder if Oklahoma has hate crimes legislation?

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,296466,00.html

  5. Mike Hauncho says:

    Whether someone kills because they hate a race or religion or just because they felt like killing today makes no difference. The act was commited either way. We too often try to justify why a person should be convicted or set free based on our feelings and not because they broke the law. Just as many people feel that illegal immigrants have a right to be here they argue that what they did was right and that they were searching for a new life. They want to completely overlook the fact that they broke the law. The only way me move ahead is to learn from the past and not repeat it. Terrible things have been done in the past by people of all races, religions, and nations but we can not govern by trying to make up for those mistakes. We correct the problem and then we move forward in a way that does not discriminate.

  6. Federalist says:

    This is a weird issue. As much as I would like to treat Klan members and their black counterparts more harshly, I do not think the law should make such distinctions. I do, however, think that if “hate” is considered a factor in the motive of a crime, then there should, by law, be a few disqualifications of the conveniences sought in criminal cases. In plea deals, for example, if “hate” is an established motive then pleading down to manslaughter from murder 1 should probably not be allowed. I would personally like to see this condition forbidden as a mental illness. I am no pychologist though, and I know their opinions differ depending on their politics.

    Who in here thinks that “hate” should be considered a mental illness?

    What about changing our prisons from institutionalist to rehabilitation oriented?

  7. Rogue109 says:

    Hate crime legislation is simply legislating thought. Besides, don’t we already have this in the form of OCGA 17-10-17?

  8. Sarawara says:

    Just because the common name of such legislation is “hate crimes laws” does not mean that the actual language of most statutes merely requires evidence of hate. It usually specifically requires evidence that the crime was motivated by racial, sexual, national origin, religious or sometimes sexual orientation animus. Absent such specific evidence, the crime would not be charged as a hate crime regardless of who the perpetrators or victims are.

    As I am pretty sure I posted last time this topic came up, the actual statistics from states that have hate crimes legislation and publish statistics about their prosecution rates show that a healthy percentage of those charged with and convicted of such crimes are non-white. So yes, Erick, in your example if there was evidence that the four black men attacked the hispanic migrant workers with a motive of racial animus, they could and should be charged with committing a hate crime.

    Requiring specific evidence of racial, religious, or other animus in order to charge with the more serious hate crime is really not that different than other crimes where a jury is asked to make a subjective interpretation of the accused’s thought process or level of intent. Requiring evidence of premeditation in order to charge someone with first degree capital murder, for example, is still somewhat subjective since often premeditation is inferred from the circumstances instead of actually being proven with concrete evidence that the person was sitting there thinking about killing their victim.

    Also, in plenty of situations the “class warfare variable” is already alive and well in our criminal justice system. You think prosecutors and defense attorneys don’t play on issues of race and class to pick and influence juries already?

  9. gatormathis says:

    What I can’t understand, is I sent in a perfectly good vent to the AJC ,on the Texas fan story, but it didn’t appear.

    “I would have “Sooner” left the bar, than had my “Longhorn” almost pulled off.”

    Guess it just wasn’t my day.

  10. Decaturguy says:

    I have said it before, and I will say it again. If you oppose hate crimes laws then you have to oppose laws that add extra penalties for acts of terrorism. Because that is what a hate crime is – an act of terrorism against a certain community. It is more than just a simple crime.

    So, Erick, how can you oppose hate crimes laws, but yet support increased penalites for terrorist acts? If a terroist kills 10 people, why not just charge them with 10 acts of murder?

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