Hate crime laws in the United States
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.
- 1 Federal prosecution of hate crimes
- 2 State laws
- 3 Data collection statutes
- 4 Prevalence of hate crimes
- 5 Hate crime laws debate
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Federal prosecution of hate crimes
|This article may contain inappropriate or misinterpreted citations that do not verify the text. (October 2008)|
Civil Rights Act of 1968
The Civil Rights Act of 1968 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"  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. 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)
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.
Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act
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.
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, 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. and 3 along with Washington, D.C. cover homelessness.
27 states and the District of Columbia have statutes requiring the state to collect hate crime statistics; 16 of these cover sexual orientation.
3 states and the District of Columbia cover homelessness.
Data collection statutes
Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990
The Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990 28 U.S.C. § 534,  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." Since 1992, the Department of Justice and the FBI have jointly published an annual report on hate crime statistics.
Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994
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. In 1996, Congress permanently reauthorized the Act.
Campus Hate Crimes Right to Know Act of 1997
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 Terricelli.
Prevalence of hate crimes
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.
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.
|Offense type||Hate Crimes||All US Crimes|
|Murder and non-negligent manslaughter||7||16,272|
|Motor vehicle theft||26||956,846|
Deliberate attacks on the homeless as hate crimes
Florida, Maine, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. have hate crime laws that include the homeless status of an individual.
A 2007 study found that the number of violent crimes against the homeless is increasing. The rate of such documented crimes in 2005 was 30% higher than of those in 1999. 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. The CSHE contends that negative and degrading portrayals of the homeless contribute to a climate where violence takes place.
Hate crime laws debate
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."
White victims of racially motivated hate crimes and the myth of a "black on white" crime epidemic
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (January 2013)|
Although far fewer racially motivated hate crimes are directed against whites than minorities, these cases do occur—an example would be Wisconsin v. Mitchell in 1993. The offenders are prosecuted under the same laws that apply to all other racial hate crime offenders. These cases made up approximately 16% of all racially-based hate crimes in 2011. Despite the fact that this number has decreased over the past decade (from 20% in 2002), mainstream America has become increasingly convinced that there is an "epidemic of black-on-white crime" following the controversial Shooting of Trayvon Martin and the ensuing court case, State of Florida v. George Zimmerman. While this argument was previously held solely by white supremacists, mainstream commentators such as Bill O'Reilly of Fox News and Thomas Sowell of the National Review have begun publicizing this point of view—and further insisting that the media is underreporting black-on-white crime in a deliberate effort to hide reverse racism and a supposed "censored race war".
- Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Civil Rights Act of 1968
- Crime in the United States
- Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007
- Anti-Defamation League, June 2006. Retrieved 2007-05-04;
- "Civil Rights Statutes".
- "Hate Crime Sentencing Act". Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
- "Nation In Brief". The Washington Post. 2004-10-26. Retrieved 2010-05-04.
- State Hate Crime Laws, Anti-Defamation League, June 2006. Retrieved 2007-05-04;
- "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."
- Hate Crimes Protections Timeline, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Retrieved on 05-04-2007.
- "Uniform Crime Reports". CJIS. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
- "Hate crime statistics 1996" (PDF). CJIS. Retrieved 10 December 2009.[dead link]
- Abrams, J. House Passes Extended Hate Crimes Bill, Guardian Unlimited, 05-03-2007. Retrieved on 05-03-2007.
- "Table 2 - Hate Crime Statistics 2008". CJIS. Retrieved 17 December 2009.[dead link]
- "Table 1 - Crime in the United States 2008". CJIS. Retrieved 17 December 2009.[dead link]
- Lewan, Todd, "Unprovoked Beatings of Homeless Soaring", Associated Press, April 8, 2007.
- 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.
- National Coalition for the Homeless: A Dream Denied.
- Wisconsin v. Mitchell, 508 U.S. 476 (1993).
- Donald Altschiller (2005). Hate crimes: a reference handbook. Contemporary world issues (2nd ed.). ABC-CLIO. p. 146. ISBN 1-85109-624-8. More than one of
- The Federal Bureau of Intelligence. "FBI Table 5, Offenses: Known Offender's Race by Bias Motivation, 2011". The FBI Federal Bureau of Intelligence. The FBI Federal Bureau of Intelligence. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
- Joel Samaha (2005). Criminal justice (7th ed.). Cengage Learning. p. 44. ISBN 0-534-64557-7. More than one of
- Anti-Defamation League (ADL). "White Supremacists Use Black-on-White Crime as Propaganda Tool". Anti-Defamation League. Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
- Database of hate crime statutes by state, via Anti-Defamation League
- [Hate Crimes Bill S. 1105], detailed information on hate crimes bill.
- "Hate Crime." Oxford Bibliographies Online: Criminology.