WHY THE GEORGIA COURT RULED RIGHT ON HATE LAW
By Paul Walter
October 26, 2004
On October 24, 2004, the Georgia Supreme Court unanimously by a 7-0 margin, tossed the state's hate crimes law labeling it as over broad and "unconstitutionally vague."
This 4-year old law allowed for stiffer criminal penalties for crimes in which the victim is allegedly chosen because of "bias or prejudice." However, it did not specify which groups might be victims. The case that triggered this decision involved a woman named Angela Pisciotta and Christopher Botts, both Caucasian, for assault on two black men in an area of Atlanta known as "Little Five Points" neighborhood. They were tried, convicted and sentenced to six years in prison, but also received an additional two years under this hate crime law because of 'bias or prejudice.'
In their ruling, the court wrote in its opinion that it "by no means'' condones the "savage attack ... or any conduct motivated by a bigoted or hate-filled point of view,'' but that the broad language of the law didn't pass constitutional muster. The court went on to write "the standard could be applied to every possible prejudice, "no matter how obscure, whimsical or unrelated to the victim.'' As an example, the court used the following examples: a rabid sports fan who picks on a person wearing a competing team's cap or a campaign worker convicted of trespassing for destroying a political opponent's yard signs.
Atlanta Democrat, Senator Vincent Fort said be would begin working on a new version of the law immediately so it would be ready to introduce in their next legislative session which convenes this January.
Senator Fort should save his ink. Every state in the Union punishes people for crimes of every imaginable kind, i.e. assault and battery, rape, robbery and murder. Violence against another is still violence, regardless of why it is done to another human being or what the perpetrator says to a victim while the crime is being committed.
When one person kills another, they probably do hate them. The same could be said about assault, regardless of what race or religion the victim is, the perpetrator probably hates them which is why the violence is being done. Rape is a crime of violence, not sex. Does it matter if the rape is perpetrated by one race against another? No, the crime is still heinous.
If a Mexican calls a person of Asian ancestry a nasty name while beating them up, does that make the crime more punishable, even though the person doing the assault wasn't targeting anyone of any specific race, but once they found a victim, decided to be stupid and utter hateful words towards the victim? How could any responsible prosecutor determine whether hate in the form of a racist or bigoted comment was the sole reason for committing the crime? Additionally, retaliation for all kinds of reasons and false reporting have shot up in this area causing untold destruction of innocent individuals, their lives and families.
In their book, Hate Crimes: Criminal Law & Identity Politics, James B. Jacobs and Kimberly Potter write, , "....hate crime as a socio-legal category represents the elaboration of an identity politics now manifesting itself in many areas of the law. But the attempt to apply the anti discrimination paradigm to criminal law generates problems and anomalies. For one thing, members of minority groups are frequently hate crime perpetrators. Moreover, the underlying conduct prohibited by hate crime law is already subject to criminal punishment."
They also point out quite accurately that "...recriminalization of hate crime has little (if any) value with respect to law enforcement or criminal justice," but rather, "exacerbate intergroup tensions rather than eradicate prejudice."
America already has enough laws on the books in every state in the Union, plus the thousands that come out of Washington, DC. In this area, Congress has no legislative authority to enact hate crime laws, it is the jurisdiction of the states under the Tenth Amendment. Anyone found guilty of perpetrating a crime against another should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law as set forth by the legislature of their state. So called "hate crime" laws should be repealed and the decision by the Georgia Supreme Court could go far in advancing some badly needed debate on this issue.
� 2004 Paul Walter - All Rights Reserved
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Paul Walter was born in socialist Yugoslavia in 1945. He and his family emigrated to America in 1959. He served 3 years in the U.S. Armed Forces and became a U.S. citizen in 1963. Owner of Walter Publishing & Research, Inc., he republished a 100 year old book titled The Coming Battle, the true history of our national debt. The book is currently in its 5th printing. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Democrat, Senator Vincent Fort said be would begin working on a new version of the law immediately...