Hate Crimes and The Mitchell v. Wisconsin Decision Essay example

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Hate Crimes and The Mitchell v. Wisconsin Decision


The American Heritage Dictionary defines hate as intense dislike or animosity. However, defining hate as the basis for a crime is not as easy without possibly jeopardizing constitutional rights in the process. Hate crime laws generally add enhanced punishments to existing statues. A hate crime law seeks to treat a crime, if it can be demonstrated that the offense was a hate crime differently from the way it would be treated under ordinary criminal law. Since the 1980s, the problem of hate crimes has attracted increasing research attention, especially from criminologists and law enforcement personnel who have focused primarily on documenting the prevalence of the problem and formulation
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These incidents can damage the fabric of our society and fragment communities. The following three areas are concerns about hate crimes legislation:

1) protecting the individuals rights of association and speech;

2) determining the boundaries of the law that will reach and change peoples hearts and minds; and

3) defining people as member of categories or discrete units that are the target of intentional discrimination.

Hate Crimes are becoming more and more common in the United States. In a report released February 13, 2001, the FBI said 7,876 hate crimes were reported in the United State in 1999. The latest figures represent an increase over the 7,755 hate crimes reported in 1998, but the difference may not be significant because more agencies were reporting such crimes to the FBI in 1999. The figures are in the FBI’s Hate Crime Statistics, an annual publication. Seventeen people were murdered in incidents classified as hate crimes, compared to 13 in 1998. Of the total the 7,876 incidents, racial bias was associated with 54.5 percent of the cases, followed by religious bias at 17.9 percent, sexual bias at 16.7, percent ethnic bias at 10.5 percent and bias against the disabled at .24 percent. Intimidation was the most frequently reported hate crime, accounting for 35.1 percent of the total. Vandalism accounted…

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