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View Diary: Two Chances to Move Forward on GLBT Rights (Updated) (108 comments)

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  •  More about the federally protected activities (1+ / 0-)
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    It's long, but I think it's worth reading in full, especially for people who might need to report a Federal hate crime given the current state of legislation. (That would exclude GLBT people, of course.) From Eric Holder's opinion:

    The current principal Federal hate crimes statute prohibits the use or threat of force to injure, intimidate, or interfere with (or to attempt to injure, intimidate, or interfere with) "any person because of his race, color, religion or national origin" because of his participation in any of six "federally protected activities" enumerated in the statute. The six "federally protected activities" enumerated in the statute are: (A) enrolling in or attending a public school or public college; (B) participating in or enjoying a service, program, facility or activity provided or administered by any State or local government; (C) applying for or enjoying employment; (D) serving in a State court as a grand or petit juror; (E) traveling in or using a facility of interstate commerce; and (F) enjoying the goods or services of certain places of public accommodation. See 18 U.S.C. § 245(b)(2).

    Not all hate crimes are committed because of the victim’s participation in one of these six activities, however. Simply put, it makes no sense that our ability to prosecute violent hate crimes should depend on the happenstance of whether the victim was participating in a one of these six activities. Unfortunately, Department attorneys in fact have been unable to successfully prosecute incidents of brutal, bias-motivated violence because of the requirement that the Government prove not only that a defendant acted because of the victim’s race, color, religion, or national origin, but also because of the victim’s participation in one of the six federally protected activities enumerated in the statute.

    This statutory requirement has led to acquittals in several prominent Federal prosecutions. For example, in June 2003, three white men brutally assaulted a group of Latino teenagers as the teenagers attempted to enter a Chili’s restaurant in Holtsville, New York. The defendants used racial slurs as they assaulted the victims. As the defendants fled from the scene, one of them stabbed and seriously injured one of the victims. One of the three defendants entered a guilty plea for his involvement in the assaults and was sentenced to 15 months in prison. The two remaining defendants were acquitted at trial, after the jury determined that there was insufficient evidence to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the offense happened because the victims were trying to use the restaurant (a public accommodation).

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    by AlanF on Fri Jun 26, 2009 at 09:02:40 PM PDT

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