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NCJ Number: 156476 Find in a Library
Title: Assessing the Constitutional Implications of the Maryland Hate Crimes Statute
Journal: Maryland Law Review  Volume:54  Issue:3  Dated:(1995)  Pages:715-730
Author(s): M B Parenti
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 16
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In Ayers v. State, the Maryland Court of Appeals upheld a conviction under Maryland's hate crimes statute, which prohibits bias-motivated crimes, but leaves open the question of whether the law violates the First Amendment's protection of free speech by proscribing bias-motivated harassment.
Abstract: The court declined to rule on whether the term "harass" in the statute is overly broad and vague, or a content-based regulation of speech, because the appellant was not charged with harassing his victims and therefore lacked standing. However, the court raised the possibility that the harassment part of the law may not survive future constitutional challenges. The court also ruled that evidence of a prior racial incident in which the appellant was involved was admissible to establish motive for committing a racially motivated crime, as required by the bias-motivated crime portion of the law. The harassment part of the law has significant constitutional infirmities and will probably face a successful challenge in the future. While the Court of Appeals made clear that the use of speech as evidence to prove motivate for a hate crime is valid, the criminalization of speech based on its content is not. Footnotes
Main Term(s): Appellate court decisions
Index Term(s): Bias related violence; Freedom of speech; Hate Crimes; Maryland; State laws; Victims of violent crime
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