Hate Crimes: US Court System and Penalty if Convicted of Crimes
Santa Barbara, CA – September 13, 2016: Eight crimes are described as prejudice-motivated crimes that are often violent. It can include bias against disability, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, race, and much more.
Within the US court system, a hate crime is committed if somebody performs a criminal act and chooses the victim because of a specific bias that they have. The federal hate crimes statute is focused on investigating and prosecuting hate crimes area they are disturbingly prevalent within the United States, and punishments can vary.
Valerie Jenness is the Professor of Criminology, Law & Society, and other topics at the University of California Santa Barbara. He specializes in finding links between deviance and social control as well as crime control and criminalization area for research has focused on hate crime, prison violence, and corrections regarding public policy.
She is currently exploring the various penalties that people could expect if they were convicted of a hate crime. Depending upon who is doing the prosecuting and what the investigation shows, punishment can be 10 years to life in prison, and some of the bias-motivated crimes are punished using the death penalty.
State law can vary as it pertains to hate crimes as well, creating a disparity between how the crimes and punishments are actually handled within the US court system.
The Matthew Shepard Act or Hate Crimes Act was passed in October 2009 in response to two brutal hate crimes. One involved the death of a student in Wyoming that was tortured by a gang because they believed he was gay. The other involved to white supremacists driving an African-American man behind the truck, leading to his decapitation. Federal authorities did not prosecute either of these crimes because of the 1969 federal hate crimes law that was currently in existence.
Now, with more hate crimes being committed across the United States every year, there is the need to focus on punishment and a firm stance within the US court system. According to the FBI, 47% of hate crimes were racially motivated.
“I’m extremely interested in the politics of crime control and criminalization, and look forward to working with students regarding this topic,” comments Valerie Jenness.
She is a professor at the University of California Santa Barbara and various courses are taught by her every semester.