Hate crime laws in the United States

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Hate crime laws in the United States protect against hate crimes (also known as bias crimes) motivated by enmity or animus against a protected class. Although state laws vary, current statutes permit federal prosecution of hate crimes committed on the basis of a person's protected characteristics of race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)/FBI, as well as campus security authorities, are required to collect and publish hate crime statistics.

Federal prosecution of hate crimes[edit]

Civil Rights Act of 1964[edit]

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 enacted 18 U.S.C. § 245(b)(2), which permits federal prosecution of anyone who "willingly injures, intimidates or interferes with another person, or attempts to do so, by force because of the other person's race, color, religion or national origin" [1] because of the victim's attempt to engage in one of six types of federally protected activities, such as attending school, patronizing a public place/facility, applying for employment, acting as a juror in a state court or voting.

Persons violating this law face a fine or imprisonment of up to one year, or both. If bodily injury results or if such acts of intimidation involve the use of firearms, explosives or fire, individuals can receive prison terms of up to 10 years, while crimes involving kidnapping, sexual assault, or murder can be punishable by life in prison or the death penalty.[1] U.S. District Courts provide for criminal sanctions only. The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 contained a provision at 42 U.S.C. § 13981 which allowed victims of gender-motivated hate crimes to seek "compensatory and punitive damages, injunctive and declaratory relief, and such other relief as a court may deem appropriate", but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Morrison that the provision is unconstitutional.

Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (1994)[edit]

The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, enacted in 28 U.S.C. § 994 note Sec. 280003, requires the United States Sentencing Commission to increase the penalties for hate crimes committed on the basis of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, or gender of any person. In 1995, the Sentencing Commission implemented these guidelines, which only apply to federal crimes.[2]

Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (2009)[edit]

On October 28, 2009 President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, attached to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, which expanded existing United States federal hate crime law to apply to crimes motivated by a victim's actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability, and dropped the prerequisite that the victim be engaging in a federally protected activity.

State laws[edit]

45 states and the District of Columbia have statutes criminalizing various types of bias-motivated violence or intimidation (the exceptions are Arkansas, Georgia, whose hate crime statute was struck down by the Georgia Supreme Court in 2004,[3] Indiana, South Carolina, and Wyoming). Each of these statutes covers bias on the basis of race, religion, and ethnicity; 32 cover disability; 31 of them cover sexual orientation; 28 cover gender; 16 cover transgender/gender-identity; 13 cover age; 5 cover political affiliation.[4] and 3 along with Washington, D.C. cover homelessness.[5]

31 states and the District of Columbia have statutes creating a civil cause of action, in addition to the criminal penalty, for similar acts.[4]

27 states and the District of Columbia have statutes requiring the state to collect hate crime statistics; 16 of these cover sexual orientation.[4]

3 states and the District of Columbia cover homelessness.[5]

Sexual orientation and gender identity[edit]

US state hate crime laws as they pertain to sexual orientation and gender identity.
  Sexual orientation and gender identity recognized in state hate crimes law
  Sexual orientation recognized in state hate crimes law
  Sexual orientation recognized for data collection about hate crimes
  State hate crimes law noninclusive [6]

1983: No LGBT hate crime statute at the state level
1984: California: Sexual orientation covered in hate crime statute[7]
1987: Connecticut: Sexual orientation covered in hate crime statute[8]
1988: Wisconsin: Sexual orientation covered in hate crime statute[9]
1989: Minnesota: Sexual orientation covered in hate crime statute[10]
       Nevada: Sexual orientation covered in hate crime statute[11]
       Oregon: Sexual orientation covered in hate crime statute[12]
1990: District of Columbia: Sexual orientation and gender identity covered in hate crime statute[13]
       New Jersey: Sexual orientation covered in hate crime statute[14]
       Vermont: Sexual orientation covered in hate crime statute[15]
1991: Florida: Sexual orientation covered in hate crime statute[16]
       Illinois: Sexual orientation covered in hate crime statute[17]
       New Hampshire: Sexual orientation covered in hate crime statute[18][19]
1992: Iowa: Sexual orientation covered in hate crime statute[20]
       Michigan: Sexual orientation included in hate crime data collection only[21]
1993: Maine: Sexual orientation covered in hate crime statute[22]
       Minnesota: Gender identity covered in hate crime statute[23]
       Washington: Sexual orientation covered in hate crime statute[24]
1996: Massachusetts: Sexual orientation covered in hate crime statute[25]
1997: Delaware: Sexual orientation covered in hate crime statute[26]
       Louisiana: Sexual orientation covered in hate crime statute[27]
       Nebraska: Sexual orientation covered in hate crime statute[28]
1998: California: Gender identity covered in hate crime statute[29]
       Rhode Island: Sexual orientation covered in hate crime statute[30]
1999: Missouri: Sexual orientation and gender identity covered in hate crime statute[31]
       Vermont: Gender identity covered in hate crime statute[15][32]
2000: Indiana: Sexual orientation included in hate crime data collection only[33]
       Kentucky: Sexual orientation covered in hate crime statute[34]
       New York: Sexual orientation covered in hate crime statute[35][36][37]
       Tennessee: Sexual orientation covered in hate crime statute[38]
2001: Texas: Sexual orientation covered in hate crime statute[39]
2002: Kansas: Sexual orientation covered in hate crime statute[40]
       Pennsylvania: Sexual orientation and gender identity covered in hate crime statute[41]
       Puerto Rico: Sexual orientation and gender identity covered in hate crime statute[42]
2003: Arizona: Sexual orientation covered in hate crime statute[43]
       Hawaii: Sexual orientation and gender identity covered in hate crime statute[43]
       New Mexico: Sexual orientation and gender identity covered in hate crime statute[43]
2004: Connecticut: Gender identity covered in hate crime statute[43]
2005: Colorado: Sexual orientation and gender identity covered in hate crime statute[43]
       Maryland: Sexual orientation and gender identity covered in hate crime statute[43]
2008: New Jersey: Gender identity covered in hate crime statute[43]
       Oregon: Gender identity covered in hate crime statute[43]
       Pennsylvania: Sexual orientation and gender identity no longer in hate crime statute[44]
2009: Washington: Gender identity covered in hate crime statute[43]
2012: Massachusetts: Gender identity covered in hate crime statute[45]
       Rhode Island: Gender identity covered in hate crime statute[46]
2013: Delaware: Gender identity covered in hate crime statute[43]
       Nevada: Gender identity covered in hate crime statute[43]

Data collection statutes[edit]

Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990[edit]

The Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990 28 U.S.C. § 534, [2] requires the Attorney General to collect data on crimes committed because of the victim's race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity. The bill was signed into law in 1990 by George H. W. Bush, and was the first federal statute to "recognize and name gay, lesbian and bisexual people."[47] Since 1992, the Department of Justice and the FBI have jointly published an annual report on hate crime statistics.[48]

Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994[edit]

In 1994, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act expanded the scope to include crimes based on disability, and the FBI began collecting data on disability bias crimes on January 1, 1997.[49] In 1996, Congress permanently reauthorized the Act.

Campus Hate Crimes Right to Know Act of 1997[edit]

The Campus Hate Crimes Right to Know Act of 1997 enacted 20 U.S.C. § 1092(f)(1)(F)(ii), which requires campus security authorities to collect and report data on hate crimes committed on the basis of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or disability. This bill was brought to the forefront by Senator Robert Torricelli.

Prevalence of hate crimes[edit]

The DOJ and the FBI have gathered statistics on hate crimes reported to law enforcement since 1992 in accordance with the Hate Crime Statistics Act. The FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services Division has annually published these statistics as part of its Uniform Crime Reporting program. According to these reports, of the over 113,000 hate crimes since 1991, 55% were motivated by racial bias, 17% by religious bias, 14% sexual orientation bias, 14% ethnicity bias, and 1% disability bias.[50]

Victims per Year by Bias Motivation[48]
Department of Justice / FBI Hate Crimes Statistics
Bias Motive 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Race 6,438 6,994 6,084 5,514 5,485 5,397 5,545 4,580 4,754 5,119 4,895 5,020 4,956 4,934 3,949 3,645 3,467
Religion 1,617 1,535 1,586 1,720 1,686 1,699 2,118 1,659 1,489 1,586 1,405 1,750 1,628 1,732 1,552 1,480 1,340
Sexual Orientation 1,347 1,281 1,401 1,488 1,558 1,558 1,664 1,513 1,479 1,482 1,213 1,472 1,512 1,706 1,528 1,572 1,376
Ethnicity/National Origin 1,044 1,207 1,132 956 1,040 1,216 2,634 1,409 1,326 1,254 1,228 1,305 1,347 1,226 1,122 939 866
Disability unknown unknown 12 27 23 36 37 50 43 73 54 95 84 85 48 61 102
Single-Bias 10,446 11,017 10,215 9705 9,792 9,906 11,998 9,211 9,091 9,514 8,795 9,642 9,527 9,683 8,199 7,697 7,151
Multiple-Bias 23 22 40 17 10 18 22 11 9 14 9 10 8 8 9 16 13
Total 10,469 11,039 10,255 9,722 9,802 9,924 12,020 9,222 9,100 9,528 8,804 9,652 9,535 9,691 8,208 7,713 7,164

Notes: The term victim may refer to a person, business, institution, or society as a whole. Though the FBI has collected UCR data since 1992, reports from 1992-1994 are not available on the FBI website. Single-bias victim totals have been calculated for 1995-1998.

2008 Hate Crimes vs. 2008 Crimes per offense type[51][52]
Department of Justice / FBI crimes statistics
Offense type Hate Crimes All US Crimes
Murder and non-negligent manslaughter 7 16,272
Forcible rape 11 89,000
Robbery 145 441,855
Aggravated assault 1,025 834,885
Burglary 158 2,222,196
Larceny-theft 224 6,588,873
Motor vehicle theft 26 956,846

Deliberate attacks on the homeless as hate crimes[edit]

Florida, Maine, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. have hate crime laws that include the homeless status of an individual.[5]

A 2007 study found that the number of violent crimes against the homeless is increasing.[53][54] The rate of such documented crimes in 2005 was 30% higher than of those in 1999.[55] 75% of all perpetrators are under the age of 25. Studies and surveys indicate that homeless people have a much higher criminal victimization rate than the non-homeless, but that most incidents never get reported to authorities.

In recent years, largely due to the efforts of the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) and academic researchers the problem of violence against the homeless has gained national attention. The NCH called deliberate attacks against the homeless hate crimes in their report Hate, Violence, and Death on Mainstreet USA (they retain the definition of the American Congress).

The Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino in conjunction with the NCH found that 155 homeless people were killed by non-homeless people in "hate killings", while 76 people were killed in all the other traditional hate crime homicide categories such as race and religion, combined.[54] The CSHE contends that negative and degrading portrayals of the homeless contribute to a climate where violence takes place.

Hate crime laws debate[edit]

Penalty-enhancement hate crime laws are traditionally justified on the grounds that, in Chief Justice Rehnquist's words, "this conduct is thought to inflict greater individual and societal harm.... bias-motivated crimes are more likely to provoke retaliatory crimes, inflict distinct emotional harms on their victims, and incite community unrest."[56]

Some people object to penalty-enhancement and federal prosecution laws because they believe they offer preferred protection to certain individuals over others. There is less opposition to data collection statutes.[citation needed]


See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Civil Rights Statutes". 
  2. ^ "Hate Crime Sentencing Act". Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved 10 December 2009. 
  3. ^ "Nation In Brief". The Washington Post. 2004-10-26. Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  4. ^ a b c State Hate Crime Laws, Anti-Defamation League, June 2006. Retrieved 2007-05-04;
  5. ^ a b c "Florida among first states to make attacks on homeless hate crimes". Retrieved May 25, 2010.  May 18, 2010, Orlando Sentinel, Quote: "Florida becomes only the fourth jurisdiction to make attacks on homeless people a hate crime – behind Maryland, Maine and Washington, D.C."
  6. ^ Anti-Defamation League, June 2006. Retrieved 2007-05-04;
  7. ^ Direct Democracy and Minority Rights: A Critical Assessment of the Tyranny ...
  8. ^ United States of America
  9. ^ 1987 Wisconsin Act 348
  10. ^ Laws of Minnesota 1989
  11. ^ ê1989 Statutes of Nevada, Page 898
  12. ^ 1989: Oregon hate crime law that includes sexual orientation
  13. ^ United States of America
  14. ^ Hate Crimes : Criminal Law & Identity Politics: Criminal Law & Identity Politics
  15. ^ a b Mary Bernsten, "The Contradictions of Gay Ethnicity: Forging Identity in Vermont," in David S. Meyer, et al., eds, Social Movements: Identity, Culture, and the State (Oxford University Press, 2002), 96-7, available online, accessed July 12, 2013
  16. ^ Florida Hate Crimes Act, 1991 revisions
  17. ^ In re B.C. et al., Minors
  18. ^ "HB 1299 - Bill Text". Gencourt.state.nh.us. 1991-01-01. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  19. ^ "Docket of HB1299". Gencourt.state.nh.us. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  20. ^ Fair Housing Education
  21. ^ Section 28.257a
  22. ^ 2011 Maine Revised Statutes TITLE 5: ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES AND SERVICES Chapter 337-B: CIVIL RIGHTS ACT 5 §4684-A. Civil rights
  23. ^ DENNIS HOLLINGSWORTH, et al., Petitioners, v. KRISTIN M. PERRY, et al.
  24. ^ United States of America
  25. ^ Boston Globe: Doris Sue Wong, "Senate Expands Hate-crime Law," June 21, 1996 accessed March 9, 2011
  26. ^ CHAPTER 175
  27. ^ "Hate Crimes Bill Out Of Committee With 'Sexual Orientation' Intact," May 1997, Ambush Magazine, Accessed December 23, 2013.
  28. ^ NEBRASKA PASSES HATE CRIMES LAW
  29. ^ BILL NUMBER  : A.B. No. 1999
  30. ^ § 12-19-38 Hate Crimes Sentencing Act.
  31. ^ Hate crimes--provides enhanced penalties for motivational factors in certain crimes--definitions.
  32. ^ Wallace Swan, ed., Handbook of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Administration and Policy (Taylor & Francis, 2005), 131, available online, accessed July 12, 2013
  33. ^ HOUSE BILL No. 1011
  34. ^ Definitions by various groups, State/federal laws.
  35. ^ New York State Assembly: S04691, accessed July 26, 2011
  36. ^ New York Times: "Pataki Signs Bill Raising Penalties In Hate Crimes", accessed July 26, 2011
  37. ^ Buffalo News: "Last year saw progress on issues of gay rights", accessed July 25, 2011
  38. ^ United States of America
  39. ^ Texas hate crime law has little effect
  40. ^ United States of America
  41. ^ "National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Applauds Governor Schweiker for Signing Bill Adding Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity To Existing Classes, December 3, 2002". Pennsylvania Expands Hate Crimes Law. National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
  42. ^ "Puerto Rican activists demand hate-crime charges amid gay, lesbian and transgender slayings". The Miami Herald. Retrieved April 8, 2014. 
  43. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k STATE HATE CRIMES LAWS
  44. ^ Jalsevac, John (July 25, 2008). "Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules that Homosexual ‘Hate Crimes’ Law Violates Pennsylvania Constitutio". LifeSiteNews. Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
  45. ^ Barusch, M.; Reuben, Catherine E. (May 8, 2012). "Transgender Equal Rights In Massachusetts: Likely Broader Than You Think". Boston Bar Journal. Retrieved September 28, 2012. 
  46. ^ Rhode Island Hate Crimes Law
  47. ^ Hate Crimes Protections Timeline, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Retrieved on 05-04-2007.
  48. ^ a b "Uniform Crime Reports". CJIS. Retrieved 10 December 2009. 
  49. ^ "Hate crime statistics 1996" (PDF). CJIS. Archived from the original on 2007-07-09. Retrieved 10 December 2009. 
  50. ^ Abrams, J. House Passes Extended Hate Crimes Bill, Guardian Unlimited, 05-03-2007. Retrieved on 05-03-2007.
  51. ^ "Table 2 - Hate Crime Statistics 2008". CJIS. Archived from the original on 2013-05-14. Retrieved 17 December 2009. 
  52. ^ "Table 1 - Crime in the United States 2008". CJIS. Archived from the original on 2009-09-22. Retrieved 17 December 2009. 
  53. ^ Lewan, Todd, "Unprovoked Beatings of Homeless Soaring", Associated Press, April 8, 2007.
  54. ^ a b National Coalition for the Homeless, Hate, "Violence, and Death on Main Street USA: A report on Hate Crimes and Violence Against People Experiencing Homelessness, 2006", February 2007.
  55. ^ National Coalition for the Homeless: A Dream Denied.
  56. ^ Wisconsin v. Mitchell, 508 U.S. 476 (1993).

External links[edit]