DMiddleton Final Draft Essay

Submitted By izzybeeabbyrae
Words: 2260
Pages: 10

Danlyn Middleton
22 Aug 2010
To Live Without Fear There are many influential documents for which the United States of America was founded on; the Declaration of Independence, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the United States Constitution are three well known documents that ensure the rights of the people of the United States. The Pledge of Allegiance states that we are “One Nation” and the Declaration of Independence states that “all men are created equal.” The term “Hate Crime” defined by Public Law #103-322A, a 1994 federal law, defines a hate crime as: “a crime in which the defendant intentionally selects a victim, or in the case of a property crime, the property that is the object of the crime, because of actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation of any person.” Although this is the federal definition, each state has their own legal hate crime statues, which states what constitutes and is punishable as a hate crime in that state. Some states do not recognize hate crimes at all, yet, as it clearly states in the countries founding documents the people of this country are “one nation” and “all men are created equal.” The number of hate crimes being committed is growing in numbers. What is considered a “hate crime” today is no longer restricted to the issue of black and white, but the national standard for these crimes remains unclear. Some individuals feel that hate crime legislation or Hate Crime Laws are not only unconstitutional, but redundant and unnecessary. The writer of “Hate Crime Laws Are Unnecessary” argues that “hate crime laws, whether at the state or federal level, are not necessary” ("Hate Crime Laws Are Unnecessary"). The writer further argues that passing such laws will not prevent crimes motivated by bias or hatred from occurring, nor will it keep future victims alive or unscathed. Multiple related cases are referenced in this article to include the Michael Shepard and James Byrd case. The writer makes examples of cases that occurred in states where hate crime laws were in effect, yet it did not prevent the crime from happening; individuals who are discriminated against will be discriminated against no matter what or how many laws are passed. He goes on to state that “The violent acts that are included in hate crime statues are crimes that are already prosecuted under state criminal codes. Murder is Murder,” and “We all know you can’t kill someone twice or punish him after his death, hate crime laws are, therefore, redundant and unnecessary” ("Hate Crime Laws Are Unnecessary"). Towards the end of the article, the writer shares with the audience that to punish thought would be unconstitutional, this is the argument among many when it comes to hate crime legislation. The issue of unconstitutionality is further argued in another article titled “Penalty Enhancement Laws Are Unconstitutional” ("Penalty Enhancement Laws Are Unconstitutional"). The author argues that seeking harsher punishment for an individual who has committed a hate crime is unconstitutional because it violates the rights of free speech and that the “only way for society to ensure that speech will remain free is allow all speech to remain free.” He also states that “A criminal’s motivation for committing a crime, whether it is prejudice, peer pressure, greed, boredom, or any other reason is irrelevant” and that “Because all crimes are rooted in hatred, it is wrong, illogical, and unconstitutional to punish those that are characterized as “hate crimes” more heavily than others” ("Penalty Enhancement Laws Are Unconstitutional"). The writer of this article also makes the argument that “by imposing enhanced sentences on those convicted of hate crimes, society is arguing that hate crimes are a more serious crime than “ordinary” crimes and that victims of hate crimes suffer…