Hate Crimes: Criminal Law & Identity Politics

By James B. Jacobs; Kimberly Potter | Go to book overview

6
Justification for Hate Crime Laws

A hate crime resembles no other crime. The effects of hate crime reach beyond the immediate victim or institution and can damage society and fragment communities.

Paul M. Sanderson, commander of NYC's

Bias Crime Unit

THE NEW HATE CRIME laws have been enacted for essentially symbolic reasons. However, once enacted, they must be defended against charges that they are unnecessary, unfair, and unconstitutional. Sophisticated jurisprudential rationales, frequently dependent on and bolstered by social science studies, emerge in the course of litigation and are elaborated, honed, and polished in the hands of appellate lawyers, judges, and professors. In this chapter, we examine and critique the most frequently offered justifications for hate crime laws. In chapter 8, we will take up the question of constitutionality.


Are Hate Criminals More Culpable?

The principle that, holding conduct constant, punishment should be calibrated to the offender's culpability and blameworthiness is axiomatic in the criminal law. This principle is illustrated by the differing punishments for homicides. Offenders who cause death are punished along a continuum depending upon whether they acted negligently, recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally. Criminals who kill intentionally are the most culpable and are punished the most severely. Not surprisingly, defenders of hate crime legislation argue that more severe penalties for crimi

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Hate Crimes: Criminal Law & Identity Politics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents ix
  • 1 - Introduction 3
  • 2 - What is Hate Crime? 11
  • Conclusion 27
  • 3 - Hate Crime Laws 29
  • Conclusion 42
  • 4 - Social Construction of a Hate Crime Epidemic 45
  • Conclusion 63
  • 5 - The Politics of Hate Crime Laws 65
  • Conclusion 77
  • 6 - Justification for Hate Crime Laws 79
  • Conclusion 90
  • 7 - Enforcing Hate Crime Laws 92
  • Conclusion 109
  • 8 - Hate Speech, Hate Crime, and the Constitution 111
  • Conclusion 128
  • 9 - Identity Politics and Hate Crimes 130
  • Conclusion 144
  • 10 - Policy Recommendations 145
  • Notes 155
  • Bibliography 187
  • Table of Cases 199
  • Index 201
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