Hate crime is not a new phenomenon. Hate crimes have been prevalent in society for as far back as one can document it. In the United States alone, racial and religious biases have persisted for centuries. Even from the time that the first settlers landed in America, hate crimes have existed. The westward-moving English settlers were perpetrators of hate crime against the Native Americans. The Know Nothing Party in the 1850s held extreme anti-Catholic sentiments. Some whites, later in history, took part in bloody dealings and lynching of African Americans. The Ku Klux Klan performed cross burnings to intimidate the African Americans and other religious affiliations that it had biases of hatred towards. In 1968, Congress first passed a hate crime statute during a time a frightening racial violence. This was the first step toward the hate crime statutes that our law holds today (Wessler v-3 May 2000).
This paper is intended to give a clear definition of a hate crime, according to the United States government, to provide examples and statistics of hate crime, and insight into state and federal laws pertaining to the enforcement or documentation of hate crime in America.
Hate crime is defined in the Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990 as “crimes that manifest evidence of prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity, including where appropriate the crimes of murder, non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, aggravated assault, simple assault, intimidation, arson, and destruction, damage, or vandalism of property.” The 106th Congress also stated that the “prominent characteristic of hate crime is that it devastates not just the actual victim and that victim’s famil...
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University Press: Cambridge, 1999
National Center for Victims of Crime. “Hate Crime.” Online. http://www.ncvc.org
San Francisco District Attorney’s Office. “Hate Crimes Unit.” Online.
Wessler, Stephen. “Promising Practices Against Hate Crimes: Five State and Local
Demonstration Projects.” Hate Crimes Series #2. Center for the Study and
Prevention of Hate Violence. May 2000.
Wessler, Stephen. “Addressing Hate Crimes: Six Initiatives That Are Enhancing the d
Efforts of Criminal Justice Practitioners.” Hate Crimes Series. Center for the
Study and Prevention of Hate Violence. February 2000.
Wisconsin v. Mitchell. 113 USPQ 2194. U.S. Super. Ct, 1993.
42 US Code. Sec. 13981.
18 US Code. Sec. 245-47.
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