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View Diary: TX lesbian beaten unconscious on playground in front of children (133 comments)

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  •  I've offered an explanation below (5+ / 0-)

    of why they might not be quick to use the hate crimes enhancement in cases like this.

    Though I think this sort of crime fits our sensibilities about what is and is not a hate crime, the law, as it's written, makes it both difficult to prove and strategically difficult to employ the enhancement.

    The language, "intentionally selected," is hard to use in a case where an assailant initially began a confrontation before knowing the person's sexual orientation. As I wrote earlier, the argument could be that the assailant didn't "intentionally select" the victim until after he confronted her, but you can see where problems arise here in terms of proving that beyond a reasonable doubt.

    This ignores the strategy part that I wrote about below.

    I would also want to know all the things the assailant said, because that obviously matters.

    "I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil." ~Bobby Kennedy

    by Grizzard on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 08:57:59 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  While you may be right about (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rhetoricus, NancyWH

      the Texas hate crimes law being written in a way that makes it more difficult to successfully prosecute (I'm a historian, not a lawyer), there are plenty of reasons why a local police department would not want to pursue hate crime charges. I have my doubts, given the history and the homophobic culture, that legal strategy is the primary reason a police department in Mesquite would not treat this as a hate crime.

      Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

      by Chrislove on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 09:09:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well I don't disagree (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mamamedusa, Sparhawk, grollen, NancyWH

        but the police doesn't really get to make that call.

        The police don't call the DA to say, "Hey, we have a first degree murder here." They call and say, "Hey, we have a guy who got killed, and here are the facts."

        The DA accepts charges and decides which crime has been committed. And those people do know the law and its difficulty.

        And really, you wouldn't even charge the crime as something like "aggravated assault - hate crime." I believe the enhancement is applied in the punishment phase, after being proven at the guilt-innocence phase. It's not an official crime, just an enhancement to other crimes.

        So really, I think the people asking the Mesquite PD are talking to the wrong people. The DA's office makes this call, and they should be asked to explain why they chose or chose not to make the distinction.

        I understand that many cities in places like Texas have a history (very recent, even) of gay hating. But as I said earlier, there's also a history of throwing the book at aggressive, violent black males. I'm not sure those things cancel each other out, because I'm sure the average north Texas bigot has his own priority system on which group to hate more.

        "I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil." ~Bobby Kennedy

        by Grizzard on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 09:19:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Before anything happens (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rhetoricus, mamamedusa, grollen, NancyWH

          the guy has to be caught. That falls under the jurisdiction of the police department. Yes, the DA has the power to formally add hate crimes enhancement, but we haven't gotten to that stage yet. The police do play a very large role in this, and I do believe pressure is justified. Right now, we're talking about a police department that, according to the victim, seems to be dragging its feet on this and not taking it as seriously as it should. And while, yes, that's the victim's word against the police department's, given the history of the region and the state in general (and not just the state of Texas, let's be honest), I don't have a difficult time believing her. And for a person speaking for the police department to say something as boneheaded as I quoted in the diary does not paint the department in a particularly positive light, either.

          And yes, Texas has a history of throwing the book at black males. Absolutely, there's no denying that. But the queer dimension makes it quite a bit more complicated, as I said above.

          Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

          by Chrislove on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 09:32:16 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Dallas County DA: Craig Watkins (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            denig, NancyWH

            This may get somewhat complicated.  Watkins is black. The official websie:

            Watkins' own campaign website:

            Watkins has been a national leader in exonerations for wrongful convictions, including DNA-based reversals of murder cases.  Mnay of those accuse have been black.  I don't know if there's been any "record" on LGBT hate crimes, either under his "watch", or any investigations in to past crimes.

            Here is the Dallas County Sheriff: Lupe Valdez. She is an out lesbian.

            Official site:
            Valdez's own campaign site:

            Watkins and Valdez are both Democrats, elected county-wide.  I imagine there has already been a couple of conversations between their offices about this.

            Here's what the Dallas Voice article says:


            Just watch.

            I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

            by tom 47 on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 06:19:56 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Why? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              futurebird, NancyWH

              Why do you assume a black DA can't convict a black man? Why do you assume a lesbian sherriff can'tjustly prosecute a criminal who attacks a lesbian?  

              There's nothing "complicated" here.  Both should (and will, I think), work toward justice.

              Remember that Mesquite is split between two counties, Dallas County and Kaufman County.  It may not be in Dallas County at all.

              Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

              by lostboyjim on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 06:59:59 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  really? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gratis4, sny, NancyWH

              "This may get somewhat complicated.  Watkins is black. "

              I think you should stop and think about what you are suggesting here.

              •  My comment was perhaps not nuanced (0+ / 0-)

                There were comment s from chrislove and Grizzard regarding criminal justice in Texas further up, and some others regarding how others thought this might "typically" play out here. I was tryi g to add some facts about local offic ials and perhaps paint a different picture . I dix not mean to imply Watkins would or could not prosecute a black person. My information was intended to enlighten those perhaps unfamiliar with the officials here that they might not fit their preconceived ideas of Texas and Dallas.

                Dallas is still a relatively conservative place, including some black prople as well. I am sincerely confident in my DA. He will see justice done rather than simlly try to "put criminals behind bars". It would be fair to say he will bring a heightened aware ness to the job.
                In Dallas County this will be complicated. It will not be business as usual as in the past in Texas.
                I hope that is clearer.

                I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

                by tom 47 on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 02:17:32 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  They do it by not taking a report. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Chrislove, mamamedusa, NancyWH


          "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

          by Horace Boothroyd III on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 02:39:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Well, no, he *did* intentionally select (0+ / 0-)

      ...unless one can argue that this man's typical response to any social interaction is to violently beat someone and break their jaw.

      He clearly "intentionally selected" to escalate this confrontation into violence, apparently specifically because she was gay.

      What would be the nature of the crime if he had walked over to her, thinking she were christian and, noticing a Star of David necklace around her neck, began to beat her yelling anti-semitic slurs?

      The intentional selection occurs when differentiation is made, not when the encounter is initiated.

      If this man had been cordial with this woman on previous occasions, then beat her when he discovered she was gay, it would be a hate crime because of his intentional selection. The duration of their relationship has no bearing, merely the outcome of his actions upon discovering she was gay.

      This was clearly a hate crime.

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