Hate Crimes Bill Is Extremism

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by JimofPennsylvan, Oct 16, 2009.

  1. JimofPennsylvan
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    JimofPennsylvan VIP Member

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    The Hate Crimes Bill which the Democrats attached to a 2010 Budget bill is poorly written and does not meet the standards for which America stands for which includes fairness and goodness. What is really telling about this initiative is one that Congressional leadership attached this bill to a necessary budget bill – a totally unrelated bill (a reasonable person should conclude hate crimes legislation is not germane to a defense appropriation legislation) and secondly, if one goes on to the U.S. House of Representative’s Website (as of 10/14/09) and tries to determine the current text of the Hate Crimes bill in the defense budget bill (HR 2647) one will not succeed, so much for the House leadership’s commitment to the principles of Democracy and the concepts of transparency and informing the public which these principles call for.

    It really seems that one of the major goals of this “hate crimes” legislative effort by the political leadership driving this is pandering for votes which is a shame because laws like this have a profound effect on many Americans lives over time. The primary goal of this legislation should be to provide for federal prosecution of “serious” hate crimes when state criminal justice systems “fail” in such prosecutions, the responsibility of prosecuting crimes against a person, including hate crimes, rest with state governments, the concept of “federalism” calls for the federal government to be careful it doesn’t overstep its bounds here.

    One major problem with the current hate crime bill is that it creates this new federal crime and a felony graded crime for that matter for only criminal behavior that causes “bodily” injury. Granted it is wrong for any type of criminal behavior especially discriminatory criminal behavior but it is terrible public policy on the Federal Government’s part to create a Federal crime for such a low level of harm standard. The senate version of the bill calls for bodily injury to be defined by Title 18 § 1365(h)(4) [the House bill provides no definition], this section, in part, defines bodily injury to include an abrasion or a bruise; it is ridiculous to spend federal resources on prosecuting behavior that causes such minor physical harm. Moreover, this federal hate crime statute is a felony statute, causing the harm of an abrasion or a bruise on another person even if it is a fully discriminatory act is not a felony to conclude otherwise is to be unjust. Congress should change the language of the hate crimes statute in the bill and everywhere there is the phrase “bodily injury” substitute “serious bodily injury” and define it by Title 18 § 1365(h)(3). This way when the Federal Government brings a hate crime prosecution it will be for an injury to a person that is significant, that merits the use of the Federal Criminal Justice System’s resources. Since the hate crimes statute is going to be changed to not include minor offences but stick with major offenses the maximum sentence should be changed from ten years to twenty years (a “C” grade felony consistent with other major crimes in the Federal crimes code). In addition, the “hate crimes” statute should be changed to drop kidnapping, attempted kidnapping and attempt to kill from being able to receive a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, the “hate crimes” statute should be kept consistent with the balance of the federal crimes code where these crimes receive a maximum twenty year sentence, a “C” grade felony.

    The other glaring problem with the current hate crimes bill is it doesn’t restrict well enough federal prosecution of these crimes to only when local prosecution either doesn’t want to prosecute the crime or the local prosecution is not effective – it doesn’t adequately vindicate the public’s interests in responding justly to discriminatory violence. The House version of the bill allows for federal prosecution of a hate crime when the state does not object to the Federal prosecution; under the vast majority of circumstances what Attorney General or District Attorney who cares about getting re-elected is ever going to object to the Federal prosecution of a hate crime. The Senate version of the bill allows for a Federal prosecution of a hate crime as long as the Attorney General does conclude that a federal prosecution is in the public interest and necessary to secure substantial justice – a competent lawyer could make any hate crime satisfy this standard. From a practical standpoint, the hate crime bills in Congress will allow the Federal to bring a hate crime whenever the Federal Government wants to and that is a big mistake. If this hate crime bill passes, the country will see an abundance of cases where U.S. attorneys who want to make a name for themselves, who have political ambitions are submitting requests to the Attorney General to certify hate crime prosecutions and the country will see the media and special interest’s groups bombarding the Attorney General with inquiries on why the Attorney General doesn’t pursue specific hate crime prosecutions; this legislation will create a media circus on hate crimes – it is terrible public policy that will unfold with what the Congress is about to do here with this legislation. The hate crimes bill should be changed to avoid this bad public policy by sticking with just three of its four current ways of certifying a federal hate crimes prosecution. That is, such a prosecution can only be certified if: one, the state does not have jurisdiction or does not intend to exercise jurisdiction, two, the state has requested that the Federal Government assume jurisdiction, or three, the verdict or sentence obtained pursuant to State charges left demonstratively unvindicated the Federal interest in eradicating bias-motivated violence.
     

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