"Hate Crime" Laws

At first, I thought I might add this to the “Police Brutality/Racial Factors” thread, but it could go in a different direction.

A few years ago, a young gay man was beaten to death by two acquaintances who had left a bar with him. I think this happened in Texas. My question is not about the particulars of the crime. When the two killers were prosecuted, they were charged with murder and later convicted. Many gay friends of mine were outraged that the crime was not prosecuted under so called “hate crime” laws. It seemed that the state had chosen not to do so because the victim was not a member of a racial minority.

I would like to ask any lawyers posting here how hate crime laws in the States or elsewhere work. Are these state or federal laws? Is a murder committed because of racial hatred considered to be different from murder commited for other reasons? Would a person convicted of racially motivated murder get a harsher punishment than someone who committed a similar crime but without a racist motive?

It seems to me that murder is murder, no matter if it is committed with a motive of financial gain or to scratch out a member of a group of people one dislikes. If I see another man giving my wife the eye and I methodically whack the guy out, how is that legally different from a redneck killing a black, gay or ______(insert group label here) man because he hates him?

I thought this article was interesting:

The case you are referring to happened in Wyoming in 1999. It received worldwide coverage in the press. The same year, 13 year old Jesse Dirkhising was tortured, raped and murdered by two homosexual men in Arkansas. This case received virtually no coverage at all.


worldnetdaily.com/news/artic … E_ID=29026


Well, I’m not a lawyer, but to attempt to answer your questions: in the U.S., several (most?) states as well as the federal government have passed “hate crime” laws. These laws are selectively applied to cases in which racism or homophobia (and possibly other similar concepts; I’m not sure whether religion or gender are included in any of the laws) were part of the motive. The laws usually “enhance” the sentencing to trigger a longer mandatory prison term; AFAIK they aren’t separate from the murder statutes, they’re add-ons – you can’t be prosecuted for hating {ethnic group}, only for killing/assaulting someone for being an {ethnic group}.

Note that “selectively applied” includes “PC” factors, e.g., prosecutors completely ignored the hate-crime law when prosecuting the (black) defendants for the various assaults (on whites) and the murder of (white) Chris Kime during the Seattle “Mardi Gras” riot in 2001, even though the many assaults and the murder were blatantly racist in motive.

While the Dirkhising case was nightmarish, there didn’t appear to be any indication that he was killed because he was straight (in fact, I’m not sure he was – I seem to remember some WND coverage indicating the child had voluntarily gone to the men’s apartment for sex, although not of course for being tied up and killed). The lack of media coverage showed the usual obvious media bias, but AFAIK there was no basis for using a hate-crime statute.

So called “hate crimes” are worse than other crimes because they cause damages to more than just the direct victim. They are often intended to frighten, intimidate or harass a whole class of people and they often have exactly that effect, causing all blacks, or jews, or homosexuals in the community to be worried, supspicious and angry. They are crimes against an entire community, not just against the individual; they disrupt order in the entire society, not just in one person’s life; so it is proper that they should be punished more severely.

Any parent with an IQ above room temperature would be frightened and intimidated by what happened to Jesse Dirkhising. Do you honestly he was the only victim of this crime? How about his family, neighbors, classmates, community…sorry…he was just poor white trailertrash. Too bad he wasn’t a transexual black jew. Maybe then he’d have the FBI and Jesse Jackson on his side. :imp:

I’m just curious,
Blueface, I know you are a veteran and a keen shooter. When the US military does target shooting with cardboard human figures what “race” are those targets?

Oh, great – now the military is gonna be forced to procure ethnically diverse silhouettes. :unamused:

“All cats are black after midnight.”

[quote=“almas john”]I’m just curious,
Blueface, I know you are a veteran and a keen shooter. When the US military does target shooting with cardboard human figures what “race” are those targets?[/quote]

We never used cardboard targets. Sorry. Our targets at 25 meters were checkerboard (so we could the “zero” of the weapon. At other ranges the targets were pop-up silhouettes made of OD green plastic. Oh god, now I’ve offended the Martian Anti-Defamation League. :unamused:

It seems to me that you advocate dropping equal protection under the law. The decision of whether to prosecute a murder as a plain old murder or as a hate crime is entirely political. From my understanding, prosecutors aren’t making these decisions based on whether the evidence supports a “hate crime” charge, but whether or not the case could lead to riots by a large ethnic group. When was the last time a gay pride parade turned into rioting and looting because a gay man was murdered by a homophobe? Never. I count that as one reason why many/most states don’t include gays in their hate crime laws.

There have been plenty of non-caucasians who’ve killed caucasians for racist reasons, but I’ve never heard of prosecutors utilizing hate crime laws in such cases (I’m not claiming that it has NEVER happened). So are some ethnic groups more equal than others? Do we use these laws to sentence people in a way so as just to pacify some groups in society and make them feel better? If that is so, then I fear that we are starting to resemble China, where stiff sentencing is viewed by national and provincial authorities as a way of demonstrating to the people that the government is actually doing something about crime, when in reality it isn’t doing too much.

You say that “hate crimes” are crimes against the whole community. Whether or not a crime is committed “against the whole community” is completely a matter of perception. Is a prosecutor or judge to make decisions based on how he thinks the public will “perceive” a crime or how groups will react based on their own subjective perceptions? I can’t think of any other crimes where a judge is encouraged to use public feeling as a criteria for sentencing. Promoting tolerance and protecting minorities is a long term process. I don’t think these laws will make hateful people hesitate more than before when they commit a hate motivated crime. If anything, I think they will just stoke the flames of racism.

The way “hate crime” laws work is that the punishment is “enhanced” based on motive. I am not a lawyer, but as I see it, a prosecutor decides how to charge someone of a crime like murder/manslaughter based on intent, not motive. Understanding and explaining a persons motive is just a tool for proving that a person commited the crime (because he or she had a reason). I’ve never heard of motive being used as anything other than as a tool to prove guilt. Other than “hate crimes,” are there any other crimes where motive is used to decide how to charge someone or sentence them? My guess is there aren’t any. Am I the only one here who thinks motive and intent are two different concepts?[flash width=100 height=100][/flash]

Jive Turkey: Contrary to your assertion, I was not advocating “dropping equal protection under the law” although I’m not sure what you mean by that.

Nor do I agree taht the decision of whether to prosecute a murder as a plain old murder or as a hate crime is entirely political. I’m sure every hate crime statute lays out particular criteria for determining whether a crime qualifies or not. Of course prosecutors have discretion whether to charge something as a hate crime or not, based on a wide range of factors including the strength of the case, based on the evidence and the law, the pleas of the victim or the victims’ family, other members of society, etc. You may deem that political, but those factors are present in every decision by a prosecutor on whether to press charges and what charges to press.

I don’t know whether you’re correct that most states don’t include as hate crimes crimes against gays on the basis of their sexual orientation, but I feel they should qualify. In my opinion it’s worse when a victim of crime is targeted based on race, religion, sexual orientation, etc, for the reasons I stated before. Such crimes are aimed not at an individual but at an entire group of individuals on the basis of a characteristic that cannot be changed, and the individual is targeted based on inclusion in that group. Those crimes are intended to harass and intimidate not just one person but all members of that group and they generally have that effect. In my mind they are more egregious than random crimes against arbitrary victims.

Sure, BF was right when he said that mothers might have worried after the homosexuals killed someone somewhere. But our country has no long history of homos going around in white bedsheets killing heteros. In fact, the opposite is true. Homosexuals have often been targeted for crime, or discrimination, based on their sexual orientation.

Yes it is a hate crime if a black kills a white because of his race, but it is usually difficult to prove that a crime is committed due to race, etc, and we have laws protecting minority groups in the US becasue such groups have a long history of being abused – dragged out and strung up from trees, their houses burned, beaten and imprisoned wrongfully by the authorities with impunity, etc. It was just a few short decades ago that it was commonplace for blacks to be forced to sit at the back of buses, and eat, sleep and drink in separate facilities from whites, in some parts of the country anyway. The civil rights movement was extremely necessary and it was just forty years ago.

Because there is a much greater history of whites, men and heterosexuals in our country violating the peace, liberty and freedom of minorities, women and homosexuals than there is of the inverse, it seems only natural that one would hear more often of women, minorities and homosexuals receiving legal protection from their abusers who are white, male heterosexuals. And I think that’s a good thing.

Prosecutors always base their decisions in part on how they perceive the society will feel and in my mind a law that comes down hard on crimes based on prejudice against particular groups are good laws. You feel such laws lead to more hatred. I feel they teach hateful people that the State will not tolerate their conduct. We’re each entitled to our opinions.

The problem is you try to get people banned here with opinions differing from yours. :unamused: Weasel.

i dont think equal protection comes into this. defendants aren’t being deprived of equal protection under laws.

the hate crime element is an added punishment.

at the base, the crime of theft, murder, assault is still the same. the hate crime element i believe is a factor that can increase the sentencing in a loose way kinda like the 3 strikes law we’ve been discussing.

The Carr brothers were specifically targeting whites so why weren’t these bastards tried for committing “hate crimes”? Could it have been because all their victims were the wrong color???

The Carr Brothers

Judge confirms death penalty for brothers in Wichita killings

By Roxana Hegeman
Associated Press Writer

WICHITA – Even though a jury sentenced Reginald and Jonathan Carr to die for shooting four friends in the back of the head two years ago, it is a punishment that pales in comparison to the crimes they committed, the sole survivor of the slayings told a court on Friday.

‘‘The sentence imposed on them will be a much kinder sentence than they imposed on me, my friends, and all our families,’’ she said.

Her words came on the same day District Judge Paul Clark followed the jury’s recommendation and sentenced Reginald Carr, 25, and his brother Jonathan, 22, to death by injection for killing three men and a woman on Dec. 15, 2000 as they knelt side-by-side in a snow-covered soccer field.

The Carrs were convicted last week of capital murder in the deaths of Aaron Sander, 29, Brad Heyka, 27, Jason Befort, 26, and Heather Muller, 25.

Befort’s girlfriend, then a 25-year-old teacher, survived and ran through the snow naked to seek help. She was among the key witnesses at the trial, which began more than two months ago.

The five friends were at a Wichita home when two armed intruders forced them to engage in sex with each other, then made them withdraw money from automated teller machines. The two women were raped repeatedly before the five were taken to the soccer field and shot.

‘‘I had no choice in what Reginald and Jonathan Carr did that night. I wasn’t given a choice to save Brad or Aaron or Heather or Jason,’’ the survivor said. ‘‘I had a choice to lie there and die or get up and live. I chose to live. And I still choose to live.’’

Clark also sentenced both brothers to life in prison, with no possibility of parole for 20 years, in the death of Ann Walenta, 55, a cellist with the Wichita Symphony. She was shot four days before the quadruple killings.

Reginald Carr was also sentenced to an additional 47 years in prison for his conviction on other crimes, and Jonathan Carr was sentenced to an additional 41 years on other convictions. The sentences are to run consecutively.

The brothers showed no visible emotion when the judge pronounced the sentences Friday on the 93 crimes the brothers were convicted of committing during the nine-day crime spree. Jonathan Carr looked down as the victims’ families gave impact statements to the court, while his brother stared ahead.

Neither man spoke on their own behalf before they were sentenced.

At times struggling to hold back sobs, the survivor of the quadruple killing told a packed courtroom she still paces at night when she hears noises. She said she is careful to blow-dry her hair to cover the spot where the bullet hit her skull, now a bald spot that no longer grows hair. She says whenever she sees the carpet burns that still scar her knees she is reminded of the rapes.

The diamond engagement ring Befort had planned to give her for Christmas that year was found in the pocket of Jonathan Carr on the day he was arrested.

She said she cannot tell the court the impact the crimes had on her life – that would take hours. ‘‘My grief is immeasurable, because my happiness was immense,’’ she said.

Larry Heyka, the father of Brad Heyka, said his only son was his best friend.

‘‘No parent should have to bury a child under such circumstances,’’ Heyka said. ‘’… I would freely give my life and all my belongings if Brad was alive today.’’

He said the Carr brothers have shown no remorse the families can see.

‘‘Some part of us has been taken away, and our hearts will be shallow for the rest of our lives,’’ Heyka said.

Elisabeth Daily, Brad Heyka’s mother, told the court people who do not believe the devil walks the earth have not seen the evidence in this case.

Lois Muller, the mother of Heather Muller, said whenever she looks into the eyes of the Carr brothers she sees a hardness and hollowness. Muller said the trial has been so difficult sometimes she felt like her heart would burst from the pain: ''How much more can I hear, how much more can I take.

‘‘I know Heather is in heaven, but I wasn’t ready for it to be so soon,’’ she said.

Andy Schreiber was abducted on Dec. 7 and forced to withdraw money from ATM machines before he was left unharmed beside a road, the tire on his car shot out. The shell casing found at that robbery was linked to the single homicide and the quadruple killing days later. Reginald Carr was convicted in that crime, while his brother Jonathan was found innocent of it.

Schreiber told the court even though he did not know the other victims, he has feelings of guilt because he lived and they did not.

‘‘It is not vengeance I seek – it is justice,’’ he told the court.

Bill Sander, the father of Aaron Sander, told reporters after the sentencing the four victims of the quadruple killing all thought Wichita was a good place to live.

‘‘Wichita has got to get over the fear the Carr brothers instilled,’’ Sander said.

dodgeglobe.com/stories/11160 … arrs.shtml

Maybe I missed it BF, but I didn’t see anything there stating that they targeted their victims based on race.

Besides, they got the death penalty. What more do you want?

Yes, you did miss it. I suggest you look up the case on Google. Don’t base your opinion on just this one article I posted. They had been targeting whites for sometime.

So you agree…there’s no need for a law concerning “hate crimes”…thank you.

Actually, the Carr brothers targeted weak-appearing high-income victims in east Wichita/west Butler County during the weeks-long period of time over which these crimes occurred. I know this case pretty well since I lived in Wichita at the time. Schreiber was targeted because he left the keys in and the engine running in his SUV while he went in a convenience at 21st and Woodlawn on the night he was attacked. And Ann Walenta, a cellist in the local symphony, was attacked just east of Central and Rock (in east Wichita), based on the fact that she was an older woman (55 years) who had just pulled up in the driveway of her expensive home in an upscale (non-gated) development the Carrs happened to be “casing” that day. One brother approached her SUV and told her to get out. Instead she tried to back out of her driveway, and he shot her dead through the driver-side door glass.

The Carrs moved from Detroit to Dodge City, and found that life on Kansas’s high prairie actually was a step down even from their urban squalor in the Motor City. They drove to Wichita looking for people who were (a) weak in appearance, and (b) apparently had significant assets. It may also be true that for them, moving from largely black Detroit to mostly white Dodge City, white skin color was a proxy for “weak.” If so, it was a serious miscalculation in that, while white skin will provide no better protection against bullets than black skin, all skin owners in Wichita tend to be pretty tough customers.

That said, it’s undeniable that the effect of their crimes was that only white people were attacked. And the assault on the 5 young victims who lived near Central and 137th East was particularly vicious, no doubt about it. The surviving female crawled more than a mile through a blizzard, nude and with a bullet lodged in her brain, to get help. In fact, her testimony will ultimately be responsible for the needle that eventually kills each. More power to her; I think it’s fair to say that “resilient” is an understatement in describing her. After terrorizing them for hours that night, the Carrs shot all 5 execution style, on a snowy soccer field in east Wichita.

A truly vicious crime, ain’t no doubt about it, and I can’t say I’ll lose a wink of sleep when they’re put down like the rabid dogs they are. In some significant ways this part of Kansas (the old stretch between Dodge City, first established as the civilian counterpart to Ft. Dodge, in the west and Wichita, an old cattle rail head, in the east) is still like the Wild West, and these brothers were just lucky they didn’t assault just one of Wichita’s many gun owners. No way they could get away with this crime, not in old Delano town (Wichita).

[quote=“Kansas State Historical Society”]Every cowtown had its rough part of town and Wichita was no exception. The “Delano” district was the hub of gambling and drinking activities in Wichita. Among its cast of characters was dance hall proprietor “Rowdy Joe” Lowe who shot and killed his business rival, “Red Beard.” Every cowtown also acquired a police force. Some lawmen served several different towns during their careers. Wyatt Earp served on the Wichita police force in 1875 and 1876 before moving on to Dodge City. An experienced “gun toter,” Earp ironically almost ended his own life in a freak shooting accident. On Sunday, January 9, 1876, while sitting in the back room of the Custom House saloon, his gun slipped from his holster. He had committed the serious error of leaving the hammer resting on a loaded chamber. When the gun struck his chair, it discharged sending a .45 caliber slug through his coat. Contemporary accounts noted that the gunshot “got up a lively stampede from the room.” … Firearms were prohibited in Dodge City, however, in 1875, it is estimated that as many as 25 people died of gunshot wounds.


Thanks Flike for setting that straight.

I shouldn’t have wasted my time on this, but I accepted BF’s challenge and googled the subject myself. I too found no evidence that the crimes were racially motivated and, in fact, Kansas doesn’t even have a hate crimes law, but according to many reports, racists and white supremacists made a big deal out of the case and argued it should have been treated as a hate crime.

“Many people outside Wichita think the crime hasn’t received the national attention it deserves. A few Internet sites, some of which espouse white supremacist views, claim the killings were racially motivated hate crimes because the victims were white and the suspects black. Wichita law enforcement officials say the motive was robbery, not race.”
kansas.com/mld/eagle/news/sp … 026995.htm

“Despite the facts that prosecutors said the Carr brothers were motivated only by greed and that Kansas has no hate-crimes law, conservatives said the Carrs should have faced hate crime charges as well.”

There’s no denying that what these guys did was bad, BF, but the subject of this thread is “hate crime” laws concerning crimes targeting victims based on race, religion, sexuality, etc. If you have evidence of the same in this case you should have presented it to the prosecutors.

Jive Turkey, surely you can see how “hate crimes” are different from other types of crimes. They are often part of an organized criminal gang seeking to intimidate and deprive the rights of a whole class of people. While BF’s guys did horrible things (and got the death penalty for it) that is a different type of crime from the following:

Four Wisconsin white supremacists face hate crime charges for . . . a racially motivated beating of a Hispanic man outside a Waukesha bar on October 5, 2003. . . The charges against all four are being prosecuted under Wisconsin’s hate crime law . . . the victim, Armando Cruz, testified that Bieri made a racial slur towards him after leading him outside of Hannon’s Bar. Cruz was then attacked by multiple assaulters, hit in the head with a bottle, and brutally beaten; he required seventeen stitches on his head and cheek. . . the defendants had Nazi or skinhead tattoos and that before the attack someone at the bar overheard one of the defendants say, “I want to kill somebody tonight.” Police found white power music discs in one of the defendant’s cars, which was adorned with a Confederate flag and a “white power” sticker in the rear window. Police found similar material, including white supremacist literature, a Nazi flag and white power music, in the apartment Bieri and Davis shared, as well as in Gerloski’s apartment. . . a June incident in Madison where she spat in a white woman’s face for holding hands with a black man. The criminal complaint in that case says Bieri also called the woman a “race traitor.”


White supremacist Donald Bruce McAninch was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison on September 12, 2003, for sending racist and anti-Semitic letters to hundreds of people and for mailing a grainy substance to a multiracial couple at the height of the anthrax scare in 2001. . . The Postal Service and FBI received more than 500 complaints about racist and threatening mailings, according to federal prosecutors.


. . . two neo-Nazi skinheads were arrested on aggravated assault charges in Phoenix, Arizona, for beating an African-American man in parking lot. . . while yelling obscenities and racial slurs. Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley called the incident a hate crime. According to police reports, the two skinheads were arrested in an apartment decorated with swastika flags. Greeson allegedly told police, “We do things to keep the world pure and poison free. . . I have love inside me but only for the pure White people.” Greeson faces an additional charge of assault for spitting at the Asian-American officer who arrested him. Elkins and Greeson, who have prior convictions for aggravated assault, are associated with the Arizona Northern American Skinheads, a neo-Nazi skinhead group led by Joshua Fiedler, which now goes by the name of SS Guardians. The racially motivated beating of Willis occurred less than a year after another incident of neo-Nazi violence in Phoenix.


Three white supremacists pleaded guilty to federal civil rights charges on February 7 in U.S. District Court in Covington, Kentucky, for intimidating and harassing an African-American family. From early 2001, Devlin Burke, 23, Matthew Campbell, 22, and Jeffery Henson, 23, engaged in what prosecutors described as a “campaign of terror” against West Covington resident Gloria Powell and her two children, Maurice and DaVonya, eventually forcing them to move out of their home.

Prosecutors said the three men are avowed white supremacists and that two of them, Campbell and Burke, have had ties to the Imperial Klans of America, a Ku Klux Klan group based in Powderly, Kentucky, that is one of the most active Klan groups in the nation.

According to court papers, the men admitted shouting racial slurs at the Powells, threatening them with violence, and smashing the windows and outdoor lights of their home. They also admitted to chasing 17-year-old Maurice Powell with sticks and bats and stomping on him with while yelling racial epithets.


Why does anything regarding hate crimes need to be legislated? Why not just leave any such motives to the discretion of the judge involved?

What worries me is that this opens the door to yet more racial Balkanization in the United States with people being judged differently for the crimes they commit, entry into schools, jobs hiring, etc. etc. Where does it end? Who ultimately decides which groups are more “worthy” of protection.

I believe that we should work harder to make sure that every ONE receives a fair trial and that ALL citizens are protected from crime rather than seeking to legislate protection for GROUPS.