If a person . . . intentionally selects the person against whom the crime . . . is committed or selects the property which is damaged or otherwise affected by the crime . . . because of the race, religion, color, disability, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry of that person or the owner or occupant of that property, the penalties for the underlying crime are increased . . . [by as much as triple]
Wisconsin hate crime statute, upheld by the United States Supreme Court in Wisconsin v. Mitchell.
ALTHOUGH THE UNITED STATES is one of the most successful multiethnic, multireligious (if not multiracial) societies, its history is also blighted by many deplorable incidents--sometimes campaigns-- of anti-Semitic, anti-black, xenophobic, homophobic, and anti-Catholic violence, and all kinds of criminal conduct motivated by other prejudices. Only recently, however, have such incidents been defined as "hate crime."
Before the mid- 1980s, the term "hate crime" did not exist. "Hate crime" as a term and as a legal category of crime is a product of increased race, gender, and sexual orientation consciousness in contemporary American society. Today, hate crime or, as it is sometimes called, bias crime is quickly becoming a routine category in popular and scholarly discourse about crime. These terms add a new component to our criminal law lexicon and to our way of thinking about the crime problem. Consequently, we now (or will soon) find it natural to think of the hate crime problem and the hate crime rate as distinct from the "ordinary" crime problem and the "ordinary" crime rate. This reconceptualization