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NCJ Number: 177154 Find in a Library
Title: Hate Crimes: Worse by Definition
Journal: Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice  Volume:15  Issue:1  Dated:February 1999  Pages:6-21
Author(s): B Levin
Date Published: 1999
Page Count: 16
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This analysis of issues related to hate crime laws concludes that carefully drafted hate crime laws punish conduct that is objectively more dangerous to victims and society.
Abstract: State and Federal hate crime laws punish crimes involving discrimination on the basis of a person's group characteristic; these characteristics may include race, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, gender, or disability. The United States Supreme Court has refined the definition of hate crime through decisions that affirmed one type of hate crime law, but rejected another. It unanimously upheld penalty enhancements for hate crimes, but it asserted that the government should not punish speech that merely evokes anger or resentment. Punishing hate crimes is consistent with the traditional aims of the criminal justice system. Criminal laws consistently enhance penalties for seemingly similar conduct based on the risk, severity, and context of a particular crime. The criminological data establish that hate crime laws properly punish uniquely damaging crimes, rather than a citizen's legal rights to thoughts and speech protected by the First Amendment. Thus, hate crime laws that are carefully drafted are appropriate. Figures, text of model hate crime law, and 31 references (Author abstract modified)
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Bias related violence; Federal Code; Freedom of speech; Hate Crimes; State laws; US Supreme Court decisions
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