Hate crime laws in the United States are state and federal laws intended to protect against hate crime (also known as ''bias crimes''). Although state laws vary, current statutes permit federal prosecution of hate crimes committed on the basis of a person's characteristics of race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)/FBI, as well as campus security authorities, are required to collect and publish hate crime statistics.

Federal prosecution of hate crimes

Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1968

Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, enacted (b)(2), permits federal prosecution of anyone who "willfully injures, intimidates or interferes with, or attempts to injure, initimidate or interfere with ... any person because of his race, color, religion or national origin" or because of the victim's attempt to engage in one of six types of federally protected activities, such as attending school, patronizing a public place/facility, applying for employment, acting as a juror in a state court or voting. Persons violating this law face a fine or imprisonment of up to one year, or both. If bodily injury results or if such acts of intimidation involve the use of firearms, explosives or fire, individuals can receive prison terms of up to 10 years, while crimes involving kidnapping, sexual assault, or murder can be punishable by life in prison or the death penalty. U.S. District Courts provide for criminal sanctions only. The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 contained a provision at which allowed victims of gender-motivated hate crimes to seek "compensatory and punitive damages, injunctive and declaratory relief, and such other relief as a court may deem appropriate".

Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (1994)

The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, enacted in
note Sec. 280003
requires the United States Sentencing Commission to increase the penalties for hate crimes committed on the basis of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, or gender of any person. In 1995, the Sentencing Commission implemented these guidelines, which only apply to federal crimes.

Church Arson Prevention Act (1996)

The S. 1980 (104th)
Church Arson Prevention Act of 1996
was introduced to Congress on June 19, 1996, but died because the Senate Committee found some places for improvement of the bill. It was sponsored by Republican Duncan Faircloth. On May 23, 1996, the House of Representatives introduced H.R. 3525 (104th): Church Arson Prevention Act. The Act was passed by both houses in Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton on July 3, 1996. This bill became law number Pub.L. 104-155. It was sponsored by Republican Henry Hyde. The bill was summarized by the Congressional Research Service as follows: "he Church Arson Prevention Act of 1996makes Federal criminal code prohibitions against, and penalties for, damaging religious property or obstructing any person's free exercise of religious beliefs applicable where the offense is in, or affects, interstate commerce." One of the changes in the bill was the sentence increase for "defacing or destroying any religious real property because of race, color, or ethnic characteristics…" from 10 to 20 years. It also changed the statute of limitations from five years to seven years after the date the crime was committed. It reauthorizes the Hate Crimes Statistics Act.

Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (2009)

On October 28, 2009 President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, attached to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, which expanded existing United States federal hate crime law to apply to crimes motivated by a victim's actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability, and dropped the prerequisite that the victim be engaging in a federally protected activity.

State laws

47 states and the District of Columbia have statutes criminalizing various types of bias-motivated violence or intimidation (the exceptions being Arkansas, South Carolina, and Wyoming). Georgia, whose hate crime statute was struck down by the Georgia Supreme Court in 2004, passed a new hate crime law in June 2020. Each of these statutes covers bias on the basis of race, religion, and ethnicity; 34 cover disability; 34 of them cover sexual orientation; 30 cover gender; 22 cover transgender/gender-identity; 14 cover age; 6 cover political affiliation. and 3 along with Washington, D.C. cover homelessness. 34 states and the District of Columbia have statutes creating a civil cause of action, in addition to the criminal penalty, for similar acts. 30 states and the District of Columbia have statutes requiring the state to collect hate crime statistics; 20 of these cover sexual orientation. 32 states plus the District of Columbia have statutes that specifically cover gender. 18 states have hate crime laws regarding gender identity. 3 states and the District of Columbia cover homelessness.

Laws by state

Sexual orientation and gender identity

; 1983 : ; 1984 : California: ; 1987 : Connecticut: ; 1988 : Wisconsin: ; 1989 : Minnesota: : Nevada: : Oregon: ; 1990 : District of Columbia: : New Jersey: : Vermont: ; 1991 : Florida: : Illinois: : New Hampshire: ; 1992 : Iowa: : Michigan: ; 1993 : Maine: : Minnesota: : Texas: : Washington State: ; 1996 : Massachusetts: ; 1997 : Delaware: : Louisiana: : Nebraska: ; 1998 : California: : Rhode Island: ; 1999 : Missouri: : Vermont: ; 2000 : Indiana: : Kentucky: : New York: : Tennessee: ; 2002 : Kansas: : Pennsylvania: : Puerto Rico: ; 2003 : Arizona: : Hawaii: : New Mexico: ; 2004 : Connecticut: : Georgia: Sexual orientation and gender identity no longer explicitly listed as protected class in hate crime statute by the Supreme Court of Georgia (U.S. state) ; 2005 : Colorado: : Maryland: ; 2008 : New Jersey: : Oregon: : Pennsylvania: Sexual orientation and gender identity no longer explicitly listed as protected class in hate crime statute by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ; 2012 : Massachusetts: : Rhode Island: ; 2013 : Delaware: : Nevada: ; 2016 : Illinois: ; 2019 : Tennessee: : Indiana: : Utah: : Maine: : New Hampshire: : Washington State: : New York State: ; 2020 : Georgia: : Virginia:

Members of law enforcement

On May 26, 2016, Louisiana was the first state to add police officers and firefighters to their state hate crime statute, when Governor John Bel Edwards signed an amendment from the legislature into law. This amendment was added, in part, as a response to the Black Lives Matter movement, which seeks to end police brutality against black people, with some advocates of the amendment using the slogan "Blue Lives Matter". Since the inception of Black Lives Matter, critics have found some of the movement's rhetoric anti-police, with the author of the amendment, Lance Harris, stating some "were employing a deliberate campaign to terrorize our officers". Despite the killing of a Texas sheriff in 2015 and the killings of two NYPD officers in the previous year, in response to the death of Eric Garner and the shooting of Michael Brown, there was little to no data suggesting hate crimes against law enforcement were a common problem when the bill was passed. A little less than two months after the amendment was passed, Baton Rouge was in the national spotlight after the Baton Rouge Police killing of Alton Sterling by two white police officers. This sparked protests in Baton Rouge, resulting in hundreds of arrests and increased racial tension nationally. In the week during those protests, five police officers were killed in Dallas, and the week after the protests, three more officers were killed in Baton Rouge. Both perpetrators were killed and the motives behind both shootings were responses to the recent killings of Black men by police officers.

Data collection statutes

Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990

The Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990 , requires the Attorney General to collect data on crimes committed because of the victim's race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity. The bill was signed into law in 1990 by George H. W. Bush, and was the first federal statute to "recognize and name gay, lesbian and bisexual people." Since 1992, the Department of Justice and the FBI have jointly published an annual report on hate crime statistics.

Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994

In 1994, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act expanded the scope of required FBI data to include hate crimes based on disability, and the FBI began collecting data on disability bias crimes on January 1, 1997. In 1996, Congress permanently reauthorized the Act.

Campus Hate Crimes Right to Know Act of 1997

The Campus Hate Crimes Right to Know Act of 1997 enacted , which requires campus security authorities to collect and report data on hate crimes committed on the basis of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or disability. This bill was brought to the forefront by Senator Robert Torricelli.

Prevalence of hate crimes

The DOJ and the FBI have gathered statistics on hate crimes reported to law enforcement since 1992 in accordance with the Hate Crime Statistics Act. The FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services Division has annually published these statistics as part of its Uniform Crime Reporting program. According to these reports, of the over 113,000 hate crimes since 1991, 55% were motivated by racial bias, 17% by religious bias, 14% sexual orientation bias, 14% ethnicity bias, and 1% disability bias. David Ray Hate Crimes Prevention Act Please note that the figures in the table below do not contain data from all reporting agencies every year. 2004 figures covered a population of 254,193,439, 2014 covered 297,926,030.

Deliberate attacks on the homeless as hate crimes

Florida, Maine, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. have hate crime laws that include the homeless status of an individual. May 18, 2010, ''Orlando Sentinel'', Quote: "Florida becomes only the fourth jurisdiction to make attacks on homeless people a hate crime – behind Maryland, Maine and Washington, D.C." A 2007 study found that the number of violent crimes against the homeless is increasing.National Coalition for the Homeless, The rate of such documented crimes in 2005 was 30% higher than of those in 1999. 75% of all perpetrators are under the age of 25. Studies and surveys indicate that homeless people have a much higher criminal victimization rate than the non-homeless, but that most incidents never get reported to authorities. In recent years, largely due to the efforts of the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) and academic researchers the problem of violence against the homeless has gained national attention. The NCH called deliberate attacks against the homeless hate crimes in their report ''Hate, Violence, and Death on Mainstreet USA'' (they retain the definition of the American Congress). The ''Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism'' at California State University, San Bernardino in conjunction with the NCH found that 155 homeless people were killed by non-homeless people in "hate killings", while 76 people were killed in all the other traditional hate crime homicide categories such as race and religion, combined. The CSHE contends that negative and degrading portrayals of the homeless contribute to a climate where violence takes place.

Hate crime laws debate

Penalty-enhancement hate crime laws are traditionally justified on the grounds that, in Chief Justice Rehnquist's words, "this conduct is thought to inflict greater individual and societal harm.... bias-motivated crimes are more likely to provoke retaliatory crimes, inflict distinct emotional harms on their victims, and incite community unrest."Wisconsin v. Mitchell, 508 U.S. 476 (1993).

Classification of crimes committed against "Caucasians"

In a 2001 report ''Hate crimes on campus: the problem and efforts to confront it,'' by Stephen Wessler and Margaret Moss of the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence at the University of Southern Maine, the authors note that "although there are fewer hate crimes directed against Caucasians than against other groups, they do occur and are prosecuted." In fact, the case in which the Supreme Court upheld hate crimes legislation against First Amendment attack, ''Wisconsin v. Mitchell'', 508 U.S. 476 (1993), involved a white victim. Hate crime statistics published in 2002, gathered by the FBI under the auspices of the Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990, documented over 7,000 hate crime incidents, in roughly one-fifth of which the victims were white people. However, these statistics have caused dispute. The FBI's hate crimes statistics for 1993, which similarly reported 20% of all hate crimes to be committed against white people, prompted Jill Tregor, executive director of Intergroup Clearinghouse, to decry it as "an abuse of what the hate crime laws were intended to cover", stating that the white victims of these crimes were employing hate crime laws as a means to further penalize minorities. James B. Jacobs and Kimberly Potter note that white people, including those who may be sympathetic to the plight of those who are victims of hate crimes ''by'' white people, bristle at the notion that hate crimes against whites are somehow inferior to, and less worthy than, hate crimes against other groups. They observe that while, as stated by Altschiller, no hate crime law makes any such distinction, the proposition has been argued by "a number of writers in prominent publications", who have advocated the removal of hate crimes against whites from the category of hate crime, on the grounds that hate crime laws, in their view, are intended to be affirmative action for "protected groups". Jacobs and Potter firmly assert that such a move is "fraught with potential for social conflict and constitutional concerns."

See also

* Civil Rights Act of 1964 * Civil Rights Act of 1968 * Crime in the United States * Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007


External links

Database of hate crime statutes by state
via Anti-Defamation League * ate Crimes Bill S. 1105 detailed information on hate crimes bill.
"Hate Crime." Oxford Bibliographies Online: Criminology.
{{DEFAULTSORT:Hate Crime Laws In The United States Category:Hate crime Category:United States criminal law by topic Category:Anti-discrimination law in the United States