Ted Yoho Says Lynching Is Not A Hate Crime

Yesterday, in an historic vote by the overwhelming total of 410 to 4, the US House of Representatives passed HR 35, the Emmitt Till Antilynching Act. Here is how the Washington Post described the efforts leading to the bill, which took over 100 years to pass:

The House on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed legislation that would make lynching a federal hate crime, more than 100 years since the first such measure was introduced in Congress.

H.R. 35, the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, was approved on a bipartisan 410-to-4 vote after a sometimes emotional debate in the House. Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.), who sponsored the legislation, said the bill will “send a strong message that violence, and race-based violence in particular, has no place in American society.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also took to the floor to salute Rush for spearheading the bill and to urge members to support it.

“We cannot deny that racism, bigotry and hate still exist in America,” she said, citing the 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, among other recent incidents.

The measure’s passage comes after lawmakers tried, and failed, to pass anti-lynching bills nearly 200 times.

So, who could possibly be against the idea of lynching being a hate crime? One of them turned out to be the Congressman from my district, Republican Ted Yoho. In an interesting coincidence, another is the Congressman from Marcy’s district, Independent Justin Amash. Yoho and Amash differ by the caucuses to which they belong. Yoho, along with fellow No-voter Louie Gohmert of Texas, belongs to the Freedom Caucus, which routinely supports the most extreme right-wing conservative Republican policies, especially those that repress any citizens besides old white males. Amash, on the other hand, along with fellow No-voter Thomas Massie of Kentucky, caucuses with fellow Libertarians. One might try to say that at least the Libertarians are trying to make the point that we don’t need an extra law to declare lynching a hate crime because killing is already a crime. I would counter that lynching occupies a position of huge significance in the history of our country  and that its especially heinous nature, coupled with the intent to inflict terror on all people of color, makes it the ultimate hate crime and worthy of distinction even if no other crime rose to the level of a hate crime. For the Freedom Caucus members, it’s much easier to see how they get there. They are straight up racist in the bulk of their policies and they support a president who praised violent white nationalists who killed a protester in Charlottesville.

I’ll leave it to Marcy to go further into what may have led Amash to such a despicable position on this bill. The rest of this post will be aimed at describing and placing into context the severe harm that Yoho has done with this vote.

As a scientist, a horse owner and neighbor living just a few blocks away, I have struggled since his election to try to find some way to like Ted Yoho or to at least find a reason to admire him on even one front. After all, before he ran for office, he treated one of our horses once when he was the weekend area horse vet on call and one of our horses had a problem. Sadly, even though I know for a fact that he is a competent vet with the commensurate professional training and compassion for animals, his behavior in Congress has been to throw in with the extremely low-brow, anti-intellectual hate mongering that characterizes Trump’s Republican Party. Then, when he announced recently that he would not seek reelection this year, I had new hope that he would stop role-playing to get election funds and vote his conscience. That hope got dashed when Yoho continued boorish Freedom Caucus behavior and voted against both Trump articles of impeachment. Yesterday’s vote, then, leaves me unable to draw any other conclusion than that Yoho actually believes the racist tripe that the Freedom Caucus spouts if he’s willing to team up with fellow retiring dead-ender Gohmert to cast such a hate-filled vote.

But it gets much worse. As a resident of Alachua County, it seems impossible that Yoho would not know that our county has embarked on a Peace and Reconciliation Plan aimed at confronting the history of racial violence and lynching in our county. In November of 2018, a busload of Alachua County residents went to Montgomery, Alabama to visit the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. Here is part of the description of that trip:

As part of a trip to Montgomery, Alabama, last month, members of our community visited the Legacy Museum, which explores the aftermath of slavery, lynching, Jim Crow laws and their link to mass incarceration in U.S. history. We met with officials from the Equal Justice Initiative, which administers the Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice about a mile away.


Through the Equal Justice Initiative’s work, descendants of lynching victims and others collect soil from the crime scenes into containers labeled with their names. Dozens of glass jars filled with dirt and clay line museum shelves. The intention is to gather the dried blood and tears, the symbolic DNA of the victims, to take it to a place where it will be honored and memorialized, instead of leaving it at a forgotten parking lot, roadside or remote wooded area.

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice lists the names of more than 4,000 African American men, women and children lynched between 1877 and 1950 in 800 different counties across the country. The names are engraved on coffin-shaped metal slabs that stand or are suspended over the memorial space. From a distance, the rusting monuments in various shades of brown call to mind the bodies of these victims that haunt our history.

We read 18 names on the Alachua County slab, although local researchers have already identified more than twice that number of actual victims. Remembering this cruelty and honoring the memories of its victims does not mean we are dwelling in the past. Naming them and our role in this terror is a step in the process of transcending the past and beginning to heal.

The idea is to go through a truth and reconciliation process, and for each county to claim a replica of their historical marker to take back to their own community. As part of Alachua County’s truth and reconciliation process, we need to take an honest look at the following: the history of the role of slavery in the creation of wealth in our county; the history of lynching and illegal corporal punishment; and documentation of disproportionate negative contact and prosecution of persons of color by law enforcement and the criminal justice system.

More recently, on February 7 of this year, there was a memorial service in Gainesville to recognize the victims of racial violence in our county and to continue the process aimed at a permanent memorial in their honor. Here’s a partial screencap of the Gainesville Sun article on the service, showing the crowd gathered for the service. I was able to attend this service and found it extremely powerful:

That service was followed by another bus trip, this time to both Selma and Montgomery, Alabama on February 13 to February 15. I was able to join this group, as well. The feature image for this post is a view from inside the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, looking toward the large structure housing the monuments for each county’s list of lynching victims. Here’s the Alachua County monument:

But what really seared into my memory were the multiple collections of jars of soil from lynching sites. Here’s my photo of one such wall in the building housing the meeting room and gift shop at the National Memorial:


This powerful video, recorded prior to the completion of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, includes Bryan Stevenson (yes, this is the same Bryan Stevenson you will recognize from the movie “Just Mercy”) describing the soil collection process and shows some collections as they occurred:

When our group gathered for an informational meeting prior to the trip, we each drew a name of a victim of racial violence in Alachua County to take with us on the trip. Here’s the name I got:

This name is not on the memorial in Montgomery, as only 18 are carved in now. After further research, there are now over 40 known vicitms in our county. It was moving to walk through these sites commemorating what has happened to people of color in our county out of fear, prejudice and hate while holding onto this name. Then, on Tuesday of this week, our group re-gathered to share a meal and to hold our own memorial service. As each victim’s name was read off the list, a candle was lit in their honor and the person who had carried the name stood in our circular gathering of chairs. Just typing this memory brought me to tears.

On April 4, our community will gather just west of Gainesville in the small town of Newberry, but still within Alachua County, to collect soil from a known lynching site. I will do my best to go to this, since Reverend Josh Baskin(s) was among the Newberry 6 lynched in August of 1916.

Now consider just how damaging Ted Yoho’s vote yesterday is. Our community has been coming together for years in a process meant to draw attention to, to commemorate and to honor the victims of racial violence in our county. In the midst of this process, Yoho just inserted a vile piece of racial hatred that reminds us that the road to peace and reconciliation will not be short. It has taken 100 years for these victims to be recognized and for Congress to pass legislation pointing out the level of hatred involved. Yoho’s vote reminds us that the first African-American US president has been followed by a president who thrives on stoking racism and hatred.

But we must not give in. This quote from Rep. John Lewis’s book “Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America” was reproduced in the booklet with our trip information (and I had highlighted it when I read the book just before leaving):

Take a long hard look down the road you will have to travel once you have made a commitment to work for change. Know that this transformation will not happen right away. Change often takes time. It rarely happens all at once…

Use the words of the movement to pace yourself. We used to say that ours is not the struggle of one day, one week, or one year. Ours is not the struggle of one judicial appointment or presidential term. Ours is the struggle of a lifetime, or maybe even many lifetimes, and each one of us in every generation must do our part. And if we believe in the change we seek, then it is easy to commit to doing all we can, because the responsibility is ours alone to build a better society and a more peaceful world.

There is so much comfort in these words from such a dedicated veteran of the movement. Sadly, Congressman Lewis was too ill to be present to cast a vote in favor of HR 35, but we can rest assured that he has voted in favor of every previous attempt to pass such a bill during his tenure in Congress.

To Ted Yoho, all we need to say is that your time for promoting hate in the US Congress is coming to an end at the end of this year. Your views will eventually lose out, and peace and justice will eventually come to our country. There are simply more people who are working for peace and justice than there are promoting hate. Even within our current Congress, which has many Republicans who endorse the bulk of the racist Republican agenda, you were outvoted by over 100-1 on the issue of lynching being a hate crime. The Senate and House versions of this legislation will soon be synchronized, and even if your racist president chooses to veto, there are enough votes to override this last-ditch effort to spread hate.

108 replies
  1. Kelly says:

    Great post Jim – a shame you had to write it, but you certainly had to, given your witness in it. Hat’s off

  2. bmaz says:

    Who cares if it is a so called “hate crime”? What does that add? It is a capital murder to start with. Tacking on the hate crime rhetoric adds absolutely nothing as to ability to prosecute or the capital sentence that would result. It is feel good pablum for the masses.

    • Jim White says:

      Nope. Bullshit on this one. Lynching is designed to stoke fear and terror into a whole population. It simply is fundamentally different in its intent and its effects. Why do you think it’s taken a hundred years to get even this far?

      This isn’t about just the letter of the law. This about doing what is right. I’m sorry you’ll never be able to see that, but there you are. You can rant all you want about feel good pablum, but you are still dead wrong. As dead as the over 4000 victims that Yoho is trying to minimize yet again.

      • bmaz says:

        Naw, it is still stupid. Crime is crime. There is nothing higher than capital murder, and tacking on meaningless words adds absolutely nothing of use. I have said this for decades and will continue to say it. People are dead either way, and will die in the future, tacking on meaningless words won’t change that. It is nothing but feel good jingoism.

        • rip says:


          So genocide is just plain old murder. All those people are “dead either way”. Same for all other war crimes that end up with dead people.

          Same for torture, child-molestation, rape, kidnapping, etc. — as long as they just end up with dead people. No further punishment is needed – just a murder charge.

        • bmaz says:

          That is asinine. This has nothing to do with war crimes. And, yes, on common law capital murder, it is just capital murder. Tacking on “hate crime” jingo adds absolutely nothing. It is complete bullshit spoon-feed to the masses as feel good pablum. In law it adds nothing. But, hey, I sure you have a better bead on than me.

        • Jim White says:

          No. Look. This was never about trials or convictions.

          To me, this is about going back to deal with the horrific lynchings that took place long ago.The perpetrators of those crimes never would have been tried and if tried, never would have been convicted. Most are dead now. This is about inserting into the record, into US Code an acknowledgement that some crimes are so horrific and so meant to terrorize that they deserve special designation.

          Your view of this has no bearing on the attempt at a healing process other than to give cover to Yoho and Gohmert’s abject racism.

        • bmaz says:

          This does not do squat for “healing”. And putting into the US Code is pernicious and accomplishes nothing useful whatsoever. Again, this is just feel goody pablum and bullshit.

        • Savage Librarian says:

          bmaz, I have to admit I am confused. Does this mean genocide is not a crime? Does genocide have a legal meaning? Or, would genocide have to be thought of as individual murders? In my mind there is a correlation between lynching and genocide.

        • bmaz says:

          Genocide is indeed a crime under 18 USC §1091. But it too has fully formed punishment delineated in the statute, tacking on a happy nonsense tag of “hate crime” would add absolutely nothing to it either.

          Listen, I know people seize on this “hate crime” shit, but it is nonsense.

        • R says:

          Doesn’t the hate crime designation allow federal jurisdiction, when a murder does not necessarily involve the feds? Isn’t that valuable?

        • bmaz says:

          No, it is exactly the opposite, it is pernicious as hell. There is no reason in the world that the federal government needs to invade and bigfoot on traditional state common law crime.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The “hate crime” designation seems to be a hook to federalize state law murder charges.
      Whatever the hook, I think federal recognition is appropriate.

      There is a problem with bigfooting and competing jurisdictions, and the potential for ambition to corrupt the legal process. There’s a sense, too, of closing the barn doors after the horses have bolted. But Trump’s adoration of violence, racism, and misogyny has shown how readily the ghosts of past crimes can be made to live again.

      States traditionally ignored lynchings and were, in fact, complicit in them. Many in Congress agreed. Lynchings were often not individual or group crimes. They were societal crimes, public events, celebrations of fear, rage and white social cohesion. The many photos of picnics held around the lynching and burning of black men are startling. Lynchings celebrated white success in continuing to subjugate people of color. This law attempts to reject that. It will be for nought if it is only symbolism.

      • Peterr says:

        Hate crime legislation is aimed at taking on structural racism. Yes, murder is already a crime. Lynching is a different animal: it is, as you put it so well, a societal crime in which white folks re-fought the civil war — this time successfully — in order to reassert their place above the former slaves.

        Southern Illinois and Missouri are more my stomping grounds, and they too have this same ugly history. Some still celebrate this heritage with prominently displayed confederate battle flags, which make me shudder every time I have to drive through one of them.

        • bmaz says:

          Absolute emotional garbage. That is such complete bullshit it is painful to see you insisting on it. I am done with this for now, for the sake of Jim’s thread. You folks prattle on about your little feelings while desiring stupid and pernicious shit be introduced into the criminal law just to appease them. It is sick, but proceed apace.

        • Greg says:

          This is my first–and last–contribution to the always-interesting (until today) comment section. To Bmaz: your failure to understand the importance of this symbolic political act is one thing, but to answer the reasoned and highly moving arguments of Jim and other commenters with junior high epithets and unreasoned venom is beyond the pale. Your lack of respect is hurtful. I will come here no more.

        • bmaz says:

          Hi there “Greg”. Thanks for parachuting in with your one and only little drama queen comment. How swell of you. “Unreasoned venom”? Go to hell.

          I really don’t care if you disagree, but calling my position “unreasoned” is asinine. I have been heavily involved in this issue for decades and have stated my bases quite clearly here, and have done so in numerous courts over the years, and with some moderate success.

          If you are too infirm of thought to even engage further, we will be just fine without you. As to Jim and others, whether they agree or not, they know exactly where I come from because I have been here from the start with most all, and this is not a new position. We will all be fine, irrespective of whether we agree on any one topic. Especially Jim, who I literally talked to on the phone about this. We have no issues whatsoever. Thanks for the pissy fly by though “Greg”.

        • Jim White says:

          Hi, Greg,

          Just to pile on to what bmaz said, here’s a little bit more for you to contemplate. In the end, bmaz and I both know that what we want is justice and equality. Where we differ is in our visions for how we can best get there. And I think that something that is missing in our culture today is for people to appreciate how we can work together even when we differ in parts of our thought.

          Here’s something that stood out for me in the reading I did to get ready for the trip to Montgomery and Selma and that is topical since John Lewis defied stage 4 pancreatic cancer to show up on the bridge in Selma yesterday for the commemoration of 55 years since Bloody Sunday. Two of the most prominent movements for civil rights in that era were Lewis’ Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and MLK’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

          Lewis really wanted to go to Selma for the Selma to Montgomery March, but the rest of the leaders in SNCC disagreed. They had a court injunction pending, on which they expected a ruling soon, that would force the sheriff and the state troopers to protect rather than attack the marchers. SNCC leaders wanted to wait for the ruling. Lewis eventually decided to attend the march, which SCLC wanted to proceed, on his own rather than as a representative of SNCC. Lewis and SCLC felt the movement had significant momentum and that waiting for a ruling, which might not even go in their favor, could hurt that momentum.

          When it came time for the march, MLK was unable to attend because his father was ill and unable to preach on that Sunday, and so MLK had to be in the pulpit in Atlanta.

          So it was John Lewis, acting on his own to lead an SCLC march that MLK was unable to attend, who suffered a fractured skull and nearly died. That was on Sunday, March 7. On Tuesday, King made it to Selma and led a symbolic second attempt of the march (Lewis was still in the hospital), knowing he would be met by state troopers at the other end of the bridge. They stopped and turned around on Turnaround Tuesday. Finally, the court ruling came through, and the Selma to Montgomery March finally got off to a successful start on March 21 with both MLK and John Lewis present for all four days of the march.

          Everyone in the movement at that time wanted civil rights, and especially voting rights, for all. They differed in their visions for getting there and had passionate arguments because of that. In the end, they still remained working together.

          I’m not saying bmaz and I rise to the level of these civil rights icons, but I think that at least we are paying tribute to them by arguing our visions while not losing sight of our shared goals. Heated language in the context of these arguments is a sign of the passion with which our beliefs are held.

      • Vicks says:

        I’m sure I’m not the only one that was under the impression that whether it was spray painting swastikas on a building, or lynching, if the deed fell under “hate crimes” it would automatically bump up the punishment if found guilty.
        If that’s not the case, it seems that it would make deliberating these types of cases messier than they should be because of a perceived need to all be in agreement on something with no bearing on guilt or innocence or sentencing.
        That being said I think some of these sickos fit the definition of terrorists.
        They are using a sorry excuse of a belief system to justify intimidation and violence against Americans. These people are a menace, lock em up (if found guilty) and be (lawfully) suspicious of their friends.

      • ernesto1581 says:

        Per Tuskegee Archive stats, of 4,743 lynchings between 1882-1968, 3,446 were of black persons (men, women and children), 1,297 of whites.

        I do not see how lynching qualifies as genocide, however. It seems to me domestic racial terrorism, pure and simple. That terrorism being defined as “Violent, criminal acts committed by individuals and/or groups to further ideological goals stemming from domestic influences, such as those of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature,” per the FBI.
        I would add “economic” to the list.

        For what it’s worth, I believe the three largest group lynchings which took place during the period indicated above were of Italians and Mexicans:

        In 1899, five hapless Sicilians in Tallulah, LA were strung up by local shopkeepers who resented them selling quality produce at fair prices to black customers the locals had previously had a lock on. The sixth man and his young son escaped across the river to Vicksburg with the help of a couple sympathetic neighbors.
        (Italian southerners, aka melanzani = eggplants, were heavily shopped by the House of Savoy to plantation owners during the 1880’s as “the new blacks.”)

        This was preceded by the 1891 lynching of eleven other Sicilians in New Orleans for their alleged role(s) in the murder of the local police chief, D. Hennessy. A messy affair which likely involved professional envy by police captain Wm. O’Connor, an ongoing prosecution of one of the two Sicilian families controlling the waterfront, and the disturbing development of a Sicilian/Black dockworker syndicate in the port.

        In late January, 1918, Texas Ranger Co. B, led by Capt. James Monroe Fox, rode out to Porvenir (borderlands, west Texas) with sketchy information about a recent raid in a nearby (white) ranch. Company B, without any investigation whatever, proceeded to execute fifteen local Mexicans, the youngest of whom was sixteen years of age.

        Domestic terrorism: historically as American as voter suppression.

  3. Yoho Staff says:

    FTR, the congressman has never said lynching is not a hate crime, as your title suggests. From Rep. Yoho’s website: “The horrific act of lynching is something I have and always will condemn. Any person perpetrating this crime should receive the harshest penalty under the law. However, this bill today is an overreach of the federal government and encroaches on the principles of federalism. Hate crimes fall under the jurisdiction of states, which has led to 46 states producing various hate crime statutes. In my home state of Florida, these crimes are already under state government jurisdiction and are punishable up to death. “

    • bmaz says:

      Yoho is actually right for once, it is an overreach of the federal government that encroaches on the principles of federalism. This is state common law crime. Not every common law crime need be dual jurisdiction with a bigfooting federal government.

    • Jim White says:

      His vote said so.

      And I stand by the abject racism behind the vote and the bulk of his positions. You just can’t be a part of the Freedom Caucus and maintain a human level of empathy.

      • BobCon says:

        The federalism rationalization means nothing in light of Yoho’s grotesque support for Trump, a man who epitomizes the GOP’s malignant hypocrisy on the issue of federalism.

        It’s particularly repugnant in light of the vicious, hypocritical, deadly uses of claims of “states rights” prior to the Civil War and then the Jim Crow era.

        Conservatives have never cared about federalism or states rights. They have supported for coming on two centuries the iron fisted use of federal power as a club against the people they consider their enemies. It has consistently been a dog whistle to rally racists to their cause.

        Yoho can atone for the evil he has advanced and then he can come back and try to suggest why anyone should believe he cares at all about lynching.

        • BobCon says:

          If he was an honest to god federalist who actively fought against every GOP effort to use the federal government to interfere with state policies on immigrant rights, the environment, labor rights, and a score of other issues, and if he campaigned against the grotesque backers of authoritarianism in the courts, raising money to defeat Rubio and Scott, then maybe I’d cut Yoho some slack.

          But it never works out that way for people like Yoho. There is always a reason why any effort by Democrats is wrong but somehow it’s OK that, say, state laws on air pollution are fair game for federal override.

          They spew this pious BS and then turn around and whine how much their feelings get hurt when liberals call them out for their hypocrisy, bigotry and stupidity.

  4. Another guy from Gville says:

    Hi Jim, glad he’s going away too. I would get called from time to time to join in on his telephone town halls. Guess I got tagged as the one Democrat who would participate. They were hard to sit through, beer usually helped… They stopped calling after I asked why he supports taxing graduate student benefits, from the university down the road, like say tuition wavers, as taxable income. He rambled on about being a grad student himself once, and the value of research, but never answered the question. Good riddance.


  5. Pablo in the Gazebo says:

    Thanks for writing this Jim, and a greater thanks for participating in moments like these that let you reach one hand back to feel the past while stretching the other out to grasp for a better future, as you stand in the middle as a living symbol and reporter of reconciliation, or at least it’s attempt.
    I must have missed a lot growing up, each book I read about civil rights in this country makes me shake my head, but opens my eyes. So stories like yours keep me pointed in the right direction and urge me to do more on that path.

  6. PeterS says:

    I can see why some might see the bill as virtue signalling, rather than creating any real practical difference in the legal system. Are there other examples in law where it (a law) is as much about sending a message to society as it is about regulating society?

    Sadly “better late than never” is feeling a bit like “so f**king late as to be almost pointless”. 

    • Jim White says:

      Yes, if the only effort were the bill, that would be pretty accurate. But the whole process that the Equal Justice Initiative is shepherding many communities through makes the bill just one small, but important, aspect.

      • bmaz says:

        It is a stupid, worthless and dangerous small aspect. Criminal statutes are not an appropriate place for sending feel good messages for the past. This is just ludicrous.

  7. dadidoc1 says:

    While I appreciate the legal acumen of BMAZ that there is already a law against murder, lynching falls into a special category because it not only results in the death of an individual, but results in the intimidation of communities of people. It is the second element that earns it a special designation in my view. Having grown up in the South might make me more sensitive to this than those residing in Arizona.

    • bmaz says:

      It doesn’t’t have squat to do with where you live. I’d suggest the difference is I actually practice criminal law and understand it, where you are absorbed by by emotional baloney, that accomplishes nothing whatsoever useful and, in fact, is antithetical to the concept of federalism and state common law. But, hey, if it will give some good fee fees, why worry about fucking up the actual law, right?

      • dadidoc1 says:

        bmaz. You are likely correct in your assessment. I’m certainly not a lawyer and don’t pretend to be. It might have been better for the House to make a resolution condemning lynching, rather than to make it a “hate crime”. I’m not sure what adding “hate crime” to a capital offense does anyway.

  8. PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

    Screw it why not jump in….

    What if a state fails to sufficiently pursue, charge, or prosecute a lynching because the state officials are unreconstructed racists? It wasn’t that long ago that this happened. Wouldn’t a federal charge help mitigate this possibility?

    I’m not a lawyer and am talking out of my ass, but things are taking a dark turn in the US.

    • Mitch Neher says:

      PhoneInducedPinkEye is on to something, there.

      Lynchings are also extra-judicial slayings in which mere vigilante mobs overthrow The Rule of Law and replace it with The Law of The Jungle leading inexorably toward The War of All Against All.

      The States are required to provide equal protection under The Law to all of their citizens.

      A State cannot abdicate its Sovereignty the way A Monarch can abdicate his or her Crown.

      Because a warped surface cannot be sheathed with paper, nor wood, nor any other material that is not plastic.

      The Law must needs be plastic. For man is warped.

  9. e.a.f. says:

    When I read today that the bill had been passed it was shocking that it took until 2020 for lynching to be considered a hate crime. Hate crimes are a different set of crimes. You can burn another person’s house down, and be an arsonist. If you burn a person’s house down because they aren’t a WASP, that is different. There are crimes based on hate, which involve actions which are already covered as another crime, but the extra disgustingness of that action ought to give it another title and hate crime is what it ought to be called.

    From my understanding of “lynching” in the U.S.A. not only was the person, hung, the body was left where the person was hung, to send a message, to terrorise. That is not a “normal” crime. The victims of these unlawful hangings were the majority of cases people of colour.

    Given what is going on in the U.S.A. these days and the resurgence of things such as tiki marches shouting, Jews shall not replace us, passing this law sends a message, which hopefully some one will notice.

    One can only say, better late than never. As to your representative, vote him out of office.

    There are people who like animals better than humans, so its not totally surprising that Yoho is a decent vet but a miserable excuse for a human being.

  10. CD54 says:

    @bmaz at 4:28 pm
    So intrastate money laundering for a discrete in-state terror plot is just common money laundering?

    • bmaz says:

      Yes. With a separate charge for the terrorism conspiracy. Exactly how it is handled now, and it works fine. So, now you think any terrorism offense is a “hate crime” too? Why, what the hell does that add above, you know, terrorism?

  11. RMD says:

    Hate Crimes
    Hate crimes are the highest priority of the FBI’s Civil Rights program due to the devastating impact they have on families and communities. The Bureau investigates hundreds of these cases every year and works to detect and deter further incidents through law enforcement training, public outreach, and partnerships with community groups.

    Traditionally, FBI investigations of hate crimes were limited to crimes in which the perpetrators acted based on a bias against the victim’s race, color, religion, or national origin. In addition, investigations were restricted to those wherein the victim was engaged in a federally protected activity. With the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, the Bureau became authorized to also investigate crimes committed against those based on biases of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or gender.

    The FBI investigated what are now called hate crimes as far back as World War I. Our role increased following the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Before then, the federal government took the position that protection of civil rights was a local function, not a federal one. However, the murders of civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney, near Philadelphia, Mississippi, in June 1964 provided the impetus for a visible and sustained federal effort to protect and foster civil rights for African Americans. MIBURN, as the case was called (it stood for Mississippi Burning), became the largest federal investigation ever conducted in Mississippi. On October 20, 1967, seven men were convicted of conspiring to violate the constitutional rights of the slain civil rights workers. All seven were sentenced to prison terms ranging from three to ten years.

    The burned interior of the station wagon that was discovered following the disappearance of activists Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman in Mississippi in 1964.

    Defining a Hate Crime
    A hate crime is a traditional offense like murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias. For the purposes of collecting statistics, the FBI has defined a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.” Hate itself is not a crime—and the FBI is mindful of protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties.


    • bmaz says:

      What a fucking joke, thanks for the gratuitous lecture. I understand the idiotic thought process behind so called “hate crimes”. It is complete garbage. First off, if there are to be “hate crimes”, they should be at the state level concurrent with their state common law crimes, which all of these traditionally are. Otherwise it is an unnecessary bigfoot power grab. There are already far too many federal crimes.

      Secondly, adding the trite little “hate crimes tag onto already serious offenses add nothing to the ability to charge them, convict on the and sentence on the. In fact, if you do criminal law, what you see in trial courts is that it actually makes it “harder” to navigate for the prosecution because of a bunch of extraneous elements that need be proven up. The only real benefit to prosecutors is they can use that crap to bludgeon a defendant that otherwise has decent defenses into taking a plea.

      Lastly, what “hate crimes” do ultimately is create separate classes of victims. They get you to where a member of the ever expanding protected class has far different rights and treatment as victims than others. That is antithetical to equal protection, fundamental fairness and equal treatment under the law. All murders require criminal intent and an element of malice. Trying to divine that it is with a racial malice as opposed to common malice is stupid, and places the determination into the realm of thought police. The base malice and act are plenty sufficient. And if a white family has a member killed, they should get the same treatment as victims as a black one, or Jewish one, or gay one would get, and vice versa. Otherwise you are just creating disparate and unequal classes of victims.

      Again, thanks for the lecture.

      • Mitch Neher says:

        From what does The Law protect any given actual homicide victim?

        If the “class” to which any given actual homicide victim had once belonged is not yet itself the homicide victim, then how does The Law unequally protect that given class of “not-yet victims”?

        Would merely thinking it to be so somehow make it thus and so?

      • Jim White says:

        Okay, yeah. Maybe these extra layers make life a little harder for those of you who spend so much time in the courtroom. Boo hoo. Charge for a few extra hours of work.

        And your argument about equal treatment sounds great on the surface. But then, after a bit of thought, we realize that in the bulk of what we are discussing here, it is precisely these same groups of protected victims who are most routinely tossed aside by the system, especially in state courts in areas where many of these hate crimes occur. So, as pointed out above, this is sometimes a route to accountability that is all too often missing for those who need it most. So, deal with it. I’m all in for a bit of discomfort in the “system” if that helps us achieve otherwise missing accountability.

        • bmaz says:

          Good to hear you care not about equal protection and fundamental fairness. But, hey, if it will help some poor souls with their little emotional fee fee, I guess all this Constitutional precepts simply must give way to the public hordes that don’t know squat about how the justice system actually works. Yahtehey!

        • Jim White says:

          Nope. You have it exactly backwards and will never get it, but this is the backstop for fairness in a system that historically has been and today remains structurally unfair.

      • RMD says:

        Trying to divine that it is with a racial malice as opposed to common malice is stupid, and places the determination into the realm of thought police.

        You would disavow racial motive for crimes?
        and that ‘divining’ racial hatred as a motive the work of ‘thought police’?

        would it help the deliberately obtuse to refer to statements made by the perpetrators as to their motives?
        I wonder how you would ‘interpret’ US policy and actions against Native Americans?
        Turkey’s policies and actions against Armenians?
        NAZI Germany’s policies and actions against Jews, Gays, political and religious groups?

        Your opinion ignores the history of persecution of classes of people.
        …and the efforts to counter the violence directed at targeted groups by drawing legal distinctions to recognize the peculiar heinousness of the nature of these types of crimes.

        • bmaz says:

          What a load of crap. Yes, I would discount racial motivation as a mental factor, because it polices fundamental First Amendment thought. It is not illegal whatsoever to have racist thoughts. The mental state of intent to commit the heinous crime is what matters, not the protected speech and thought basis behind it.

          Jesus, really? The Native Americans and Turks and Nazis? Do you magically think this is IHL law or something? Because it is not, and those are beyond ludicrous analogies. My opinion does not “ignore” jack shit. It actually takes into account the principles the Constitution and justice system are supposed to represent as opposed to the emotional hype and feelings of people that don’t have a clue about it.

        • RMD says:

          You have your first amendment right to your opinion, however malformed and devoid of historical understanding.

          It is, to use your own expression, ‘a load of crap’

        • bmaz says:

          There is absolutely NOTHING “malformed” about my opinion, nor am I devoid of any historical understanding. What I do have is an actual understanding of the law.

          The criminal code is the worst possible place for emotional knee jerk social engineering. It has never worked in that capacity, and it never will

          You do not know your ass from a hole in the ground. Thanks for playing.

      • ernesto1581 says:

        “Lastly, what “hate crimes” do ultimately is create separate classes of victims. They get you to where a member of the ever expanding protected class has far different rights and treatment as victims than others.”

        This is what has always bothered me about “specialty crime” tags — for example, the argument for capital punishment in the case of murder of a police officer. Has an objection that such tags tend to establish de facto exclusive classes ever been tested constitutionally?

        • Mitch Neher says:

          Given any protected class of homicide victims, it follows that any actual homicide victim is no longer a member of that supposedly protected class to which he or she had once belonged before he or she had become the victim of a homicide offense.

        • bmaz says:

          What? That is nonsense. When there is a murder, the “victims” become the immediate relatives, including children, and the estate. So, no, that “protected status” does not magically disappear.

        • Mitch Neher says:

          Bullwinkle J. Moose says, “Not those dead victims; these living victims.”

          So how does The Law make the surviving kin of a homicide victim into a “protected class of living victims”?

          Is the “protected class of living victims” only the nuclear family or the extended kindred of the actually dead homicide victim?

          From what, pray tell, is The Law protecting that protected class of living victims?

          How would the entire community of sworn law enforcement officers (few of whom are blood relations to a given officer killed in the line of duty) become a protected class of living victims (whenever one of them is killed in the line of duty) such that the homicide offender at issue receives a harsher punishment (such as the death penalty) than would have been meted out to another homicide offender who had killed a member of the general population?

        • bmaz says:

          For what it is worth, I am an extremely direct “blood relation to a given officer killed in the line of duty”. And, yet, cops are just people. They, too, deserve no such elevated status in law.

          The common extant statutes are fine. It is simply impossible to make them more fairly applied by creating ever more niches and special inequality of application by further law.

          The criminal laws and Constitution are not the problem. It is the people currently implementing it. And that is a direct function of our politicians and the electorate that places them there. You cannot fix that with knee jerk feel goody “hate crimes” statutes. You can only make the playing field in real criminal practice more tilted and insane.

        • Mitch Neher says:

          I’m sorry for your loss. And I thank your lost loved one for his or her service. But I still don’t see the discriminatory effect.

          Giving cop-killers harsher sentences than other-killers does not protect sworn officers from being discriminated against as a class.

          Giving the members of lynch mobs harsher sentences than other homicide offenders does not protect the surviving kindred nor their race from being discriminated against as a class.

        • bmaz says:

          “Giving cop-killers harsher sentences than other-killers does not protect sworn officers from being discriminated against as a class.

          Giving the members of lynch mobs harsher sentences than other homicide offenders does not protect the surviving kindred nor their race from being discriminated against as a class.”

          This is, if intended at face value, precisely my point.

        • Rayne says:

          Oh please. Law enforcement officers have been able to rely on qualified immunity, distorted too often into absolute immunity, to get away with extrajudicial executions while enforcing laws created by cis-het white men. Discriminated against as a class, my ass.

        • Mitch Neher says:

          I did not assert that sworn officers were being discriminated against as a protected class.

          I asserted that giving cop-killers harsher sentences than other homicide offenders receive does not protect sworn officers from being discriminated as a class.

          The difference is that a “protected class” has to be protected from “discrimination against them” in order to be a “protected class” in the first place.

          Sworn officers are not a protected class with respect to discrimination against them.

          Likewise the surviving kindred of lynching victims and whichever race they belong to have not become a new “protected class” with respect to “discrimination against them” because of the hate-crime designation added to the Emmett Till Antilynching Act.

        • bmaz says:

          Mitch, you “should” say that, because almost every state, and certain places in Title 18 of the USC contain extra provisions as to culpability and punishment for offenses against cops. As an example, in many places what would be a simple misdemeanor assault against any normal victim is magically elevated to felony aggravated assault if done to an officer. For no reason other than they are a cop.

          And, yes, when you give different rights to victims of so called “lynching”, and different culpability for committing such an offense, you absolutely are creating a different class.

        • Vicks says:

          I know this is pissing bmaz off, but I think it’s interesting as hell.
          I have to admit I have never thought about it before, but I get what he is saying, how can justice be blind if the color, religion, or sexual orientation of the victim automatically adds weight to the crime and potentially adds time to the punishment?
          That being said, what does this line of thinking do to the even wider belief, that there is a special place in hell (and prison) for those who harm children?
          Serious question…

        • Rayne says:

          This is where bmaz and I will not agree.

          The entirety of law in this country is written by and for cis-het white men. Equal justice under the law is not assured if those accused are not cis-het white men.

          Hate crimes are not committed against cis-het white men. A charge for a hate crime is a meager remedy for the disparity in justice offered to victims who are cis-het white men and those who are not.

          And even with that ‘adder’ there is still no assurance that a victim who isn’t a cis-het white man will receive equal justice.

        • P J Evans says:

          And when crimes are committed against people *because* they’re not cis-het white men, shouldn’t the fact that the victims were chosen because of that, not count at all? Even – *especially* – when the crimes are committed by people in authority, who are sworn to uphold laws evenly.

        • Pablo in the Gazebo says:

          “And even with that ‘adder’ there is still no assurance that a victim who isn’t a cis-het white man will receive equal justice.”
          Thank you Rayne. I’ve been waiting for a chance to join the defense. Equal Justice is not something that should have taken a hundred years to legislate, but it looks like it will take a hundred more to be realized.

        • Eureka says:

          I’d say the ideal of justice as blind was set up and works within-group — i.e. within the group of cis white men who wrote the rules, like Rayne says, and of means.

          So the patchwork, iterative adjustments towards a fairer society might always appear to carry the weight of bias, when they instead aim towards realizing that very ideal.

          It’s the difference between the “baseline” being unmarked with identity, as if it descended from the heavens, and the modifications being labeled with authorship (black, female, gay, poor, etc.). As with so many other issues with that type of “unmarked / default” framing, it makes those who seek change appear to be “the problem” or the needy ones seeking “extra rights” or “special treatment” or whatever.

        • bmaz says:

          Rayne says:

          “Hate crimes are not committed against cis-het white men. A charge for a hate crime is a meager remedy for the disparity in justice offered to victims who are cis-het white men and those who are not.”

          PJ asks:

          “And when crimes are committed against people *because* they’re not cis-het white men, shouldn’t the fact that the victims were chosen because of that, not count at all?”

          The answer is not no, but hell no.

          Social engineering is not the province of the statutory criminal justice system. Using criminal statutes to do that creates inequality instead of the falsely intended goal of remedying it. It is meta-cancer for the putative goal of curing cancer. This, is, obviously, stupid beyond belief.

          I know it is trite, but the people that blithely think this bunk do not actively practice in courts. If you did, you would have a better understanding of the dynamics. The criminal code should be minimalistic and apply evenly and fairly to all. Society needs to cure its own ills, the criminal code will never do that for them. It never has, and it never will.

        • Mitch Neher says:

          Incarceration is not social engineering?

          Capital punishment is not social engineering?

          The Law is not social engineering?

          What the blazes is social engineering?

        • vvv says:

          IMO, and I do some (but not primarily) of this stuff, “social engineering” may well be an effect, even an intended effect, but not the primary purpose. As to “incarceration” and “capital punishment”, purposes include but are arguably not limited to punishment and maybe deterrence (philosophical questions, of course, are thought by some [including me] to abound). “The Law”, now there is a subject of philosophy, but I submit “Social Engineering” is *not* a primary purpose.
          oxford: so·cial en·gi·neer·ing
          /ˈsōSHəl ˌenjəˈni(ə)riNG/
          the use of centralized planning in an attempt to manage social change and regulate the future development and behavior of a society.

          Again, not the primary purpose.

        • vvv says:

          replying to bmazsays:
          February 29, 2020 at 7:48 pm (not sure why I can’t, directly?)
          I admit that I am a fool – I take pride in knowing about it, too – that is not false humility, BTW. That said, and perhaps only as a fool, but the deterrence of punishment has certainly, eh, deterred me from certain acts. You’ve not had that experience?
          Totally OT, but wartching/listening to Steve Kilbey’s solo DVD – mediocre sound quality, but terrific performance.

        • vvv says:

          Replying to bmazsays:
          February 29, 2020 at 8:34 pm
          Yeah, I’m a huge fan of his, including his other collabs (Isadore, in particular) – Kilbey and Smith turned me onto Bass VI, also. And, I must congrat you on citing “My Car .., eh, Sharona” in yer recent tweet; that’s a fave guitar solo there.

        • Eureka says:

          And I would invert the issue to add that knowing you are not going to be punished is a behavioral releaser (cf. Trump as but one of myriad examples), and that while potential sentences and enhancements might not function as deterrents proper, the social awareness that there are consequences for certain actions **and that those consequences are socially valued and likely to occur**_does_ play a role in inhibiting some criminal behavior — especially in a case where the law and the crime are historically viewed with permissiveness towards a certain protected class: the white-etc. men and their imitators perpetrating these crimes (e.g. lynching, but not limited to that. Cf. “white-collar” / financial crimes).

          Contrast the entirely different animal where punishments with enhancements are laded onto the criminal code but directed towards those already oppressed, as opposed to the dominant class and the crimes they like to commit — like crack cocaine laws. Not a deterrent, just another set of round-em-up carceral “feel good” social policies.

          Adding: So while I agree it’s the case that sentences don’t translate clearly to deterrence — capital punishment being the classic example — I think the answer to Molly’s question depends on the crime class to an extent, especially where the crime fits a superordinate cultural phenomenon like the *showing off* of racism with the god-like power to take lives in broad daylight.

          We have different sentence-range lengths/ enhancements for different crimes with some glossed notion that worse crimes get worse consequences — which is of course not the case in reality (I mean this in the cultural sense, not a lawsplain sense). And also what is “worse”?

        • Eureka says:

          * ^ the _beyond_ god-like power

          “… especially where the crime fits a superordinate cultural phenomenon like the *showing off* of racism with the god-like power to take lives in broad daylight. “

        • Molly Pitcher says:

          I have found some definitions which disagree with you regarding the deterrence factor, bmaz.

          Sentencing | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute
          http://www.law.cornell.edu › Wex
          “First, they serve the goal of deterring future crime by both the convict and by other individuals contemplating a committal of the same crime. Second, a sentence serves the goal of retribution, which posits that the criminal deserves punishment for having acted criminally.”

          From the ABA:

          PART II. Public Policy Legislative Choices
          Standard 18-2.1 Multiple purposes; consequential and retributive approaches

          (a) The legislature should consider at least five different societal purposes in designing a sentencing system:

          (i) To foster respect for the law and to deter criminal conduct.
          (ii) To incapacitate offenders.

          (iii) To punish offenders.

          (iv) To provide restitution or reparation to victims of crime.

          (v) To rehabilitate offenders.

          I do not think it is possible to punish someone in a public venue without there being a component of deterrence, even if that deterrence is only to keep honest people honest.

          Had any state consistently tried and sentenced lynching participants, there would have been substantially fewer. Just as the possibility of getting a ticket deters the wholesale commission of traffic violations when the police regularly appear in traffic.

          I respect your commitment to the blind judgement of justice, it is evident that you believe this deep in your soul.

        • bmaz says:

          Lol, the ABA are stuffed suit crackpots. As far as “definitions” go, I am familiar. Again, this is what I do for a living. This is not a blog thing for me, I have briefed and argued this for decades in both trial and appellate courts (even winning a couple of times). As to deterrence, if ever escalating criminal sanctions were such a great “deterrence”, there would be a lot less crime. But you go into I/A and arraignment courts on any given morning, and they are chock full of new criminal defendants that were not “deterred”. Criminal statutes, and penalties therefore, are quite necessary. But using them to selectively engineer morality has never worked, and it never will. But, hey, what do I know?

        • Molly Pitcher says:

          As I said, I do not question your practical experience and I respect your deeply held beliefs which have been formed by your hands on history. I just also believe that there is a deterrence component, however weak or ineffectual in reality, to the laws created in the legislative branch.

        • Vicks says:

          I’m kinda agreeing here, justice should be blind and it makes sense that the proper time to establish the heinous-ness of a crime is after a crime is committed and in front of a judge and jury.
          I’m still trying to get my head around the fact that the only thing that has locked in the “wins” after the god awful battles for the rights previously denied to many Americans, has been the law, and it is the law that has been used to attempt to level the playing field, and it is the law that has created protections for classes of people.
          Why then, is a law that labels a crime, forces tracking and increases the penalty for a crime against a person of a protected class, crossing the line?
          And again my question about how these are similar to how crimes involving children are treated

      • Kevin Brady says:

        bmaz – this is the first time I have posted here – it has always seemed a pretty civil comments section but I have to say there is a pretty heavy level of vitriol, bullying, and dare I say a lot of hate, in your responses on this topic – why so angry? Who is this hurting?

        • bmaz says:

          Hi there, and welcome to Emptywheel. Please join in more often. I think vitriol and bullying are not proper terms. I have been arguing this for decades, including before the net, and for a long time here. And for what it is worth, Jim White is not just a friend, but akin to a brother in many ways. He knew I would not be able to stay away from this topic and wrote it anyway. I respect him immensely for doing so.

          It is something that I deal with for a living, and it matters when stupid is injected into criminal law. It is easy for those that do not deal with it every day, or have clients’ lives on the line. But that is where the buck actually falls after the feel goody shit, of well meaning people, lands. So, if I am a bit intemperate, sorry. This is not fun and games to make rubes in society feel good, it is serious, and it matters in real practice.

  12. OldTulsaDude says:

    Doesn’t it matter that states have a history of failure to prosecute or failed prosecutions? Isn’t that more than anything else the impetus to create a federal crime statute? What we may forget is that of the 7 guilty verdicts in the infamous “Mississippi Burning” murders by the KKK of civil rights activists Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner, none of the defendants were found guilty of murder.

    • P J Evans says:

      I think they eventually retried and convicted one of them, but it was justice delayed by local prejudice against the victims and the classes they belonged to.
      When the state/county can’t – or won’t – do the job they’re charged with, enforcing the laws fairly, WTF are the rest of us supposed to do?

      • OldTulsaDude says:

        You are correct. Convicted in 2005 of 3 counts of manslaughter. He was 80 when convicted and died in jail at age 92.

    • bmaz says:

      I do not even understand that question. To the extent I do, no. Now you want to expand common murder into terrorism? Seriously, what the fuck? Do you have any idea what extra protocols get put in play the second you call anything “terrorism”? Seriously, do you? It must be easy for those that don’t have to actually deal with the ramifications of such things to sit back and get they jollies by clamoring for bullshit.

  13. Eureka says:

    This is a beautiful post, Jim, and I understand from your story and the historical weight why you couldn’t sleep.

    Decades ago, a friend of a friend, who did the barbeque for our wedding, was found dead hanging from a tree, ruled a suicide. Without getting into details, a number of us have always been unsettled by the facts and question whether he was lynched. Either way, it is horrible way for a black man to die. RIP.

    I have a longer response to the ensuing discussion.

    Lynching is perhaps the ultimate hate crime — as is rape. Yes, nearly anyone can be lynched or raped: that each act is associated primarily with blacks and women, respectively, is clear in not only the symbolic links to their origo — for example men ashamed to report rape because ’emasculating,’ and the cases of black-associated groups being lynched in the text ernesto1581 shared @ 1130am — but in their historical interaction via the ‘black man/boy raped white woman/ girl and-so-shall-be-lynched’ motif. For black men to take white men’s power and rape women would pretty much be the ultimate social inversion, and (wink-wink, nod-nod) would require and justify swift levelling. I would call such acts the propaganda of yesteryear but the past is not so distant, and live in not being formally condemned in the ways that it is socially important to condemn such acts.*

    Law is part of culture. We do not all have equal power or rights under culture, or under the implementation of civil or criminal law.** To restate what should be obvious, both crime and law is contexted from the cis white male pov. Some crimes and/or their redress re-express that very ordinary power, grotesquely.

    While it may not be ideal to remedy social ills with what seem like symbolic modifications to the law, to make that argument ignores that *the template being modified is itself* symbolic. Just like the modifications have unintended and unwanted consequences, so goes the existing book they are trying to fix.

    There were already murder/+ laws that should have deterred or provided justice for at least some lynchings, if that was the full purpose and context of the law, and of murder by lynching.

    We have federal hate crime laws, like it or not. What does it say that perhaps the ultimate hate crime of lynching is not included as a federal hate crime?

    Symbolic importance is not merely about feelings. And even if one holds that it *is* only about feelings in this case, then fine: I want black people in America to feel more human and more repaired.

    *In the here and now, such ways primarily include so-called “show bills.” I don’t think that this particular bill is the hill to die on in discouraging their profusion; others obviously disagree. And speaking of cultural weight in the here and now, I bet Trump signs it if he thinks it gets him more black votes (his base would never leave him over this; they’ve got plenty of other cruelties to enjoy).

    **For a related axis on some of the unseverabilities and-also-symbolism, consider the ERA.

    Further, I say all of this as one who is not a fan of the ever-growing-laws approach to solving problems. I cringe at many partial or half-baked solutions cranked out in misc. bills (while other, meaningful, legislative solutions go ignored). But part of that is where we are, finding it our only response to a ratcheting and corporatized set of problems (in general, not just re hate crimes, terrorism, etc.).

    • Jim White says:

      Thanks. Yes, as you and Rayne point out, the problem is that the system is horrifically biased against the very folks we are trying to protect here. We will never get bmaz to agree with us, but this is absolutely the way to go. For too long, the criminal justice system has been used as a tool repress anyone not a cis white het male. So maybe it is time to “mess it up” or, as John Lewis would say, cause some “good trouble” to it, to try to achieve balance. It will disturb bmaz’s orderly little world of clean laws, but our culture is a hot mess in the here and now in how we apply those and this still remains absolutely the right, if “stupid”, thing to do.

      • bmaz says:

        Heh. Surely, let’s have the people that never really deal with the laws, and effects thereof, in real life, clamor for bullshit in a vain and unknowing attempt to enforce morality through statutory criminal law. Take thee to your neighbors, take thee to your churches and local and state politics. But the criminal code is not the place.

        • dadidoc1 says:

          So even though it seems to be the moral high road, designating certain crimes “hate crimes” could make prosecution and conviction more difficult?

  14. jessef says:

    With all due respect, bmaz seems to be saying that he practices criminal law so he knows what he is talking about and no one else does so everyone should defer to his position that no criminal lawyer could find this bill legitimate or worthwhile. But didn’t the bill get hundreds of votes in Congress, many of which were almost certainly former federal prosecutors (and potentially also some former defense lawyers and possibly even state court judges)?

    The idea that the federal and state criminal codes shouldn’t overlap and provide concurrent jurisdiction is kind of confusing to me, especially in light of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments, which were passed for the purpose of superseding the ordinary constitutional principles of federalism and specifically authorize congress to pass laws to ensure the same.

    (Which is not to say that bmaz is necessarily wrong, just that I don’t think he is as clearly right as he thinks)

    • Vicks says:

      I’m still trying to understand any/all negative fallout from passing this law but isn’t it worth considering that this is simply a case of good intentions clashing with reality?

    • bmaz says:

      Hi there Jesse, thanks you for the explanation of amendments. Just because something “can” be concurrent does not mean it “should” be. Traditional criminal common law was always intended to be state based. There is no need whatsoever for the federal government to be involved in it, and federal courts are not set up for it. The though that it is just marvelous to have the federal government in every area of criminal law because it makes people all feel goody is ludicrous. And, yes, I am exactly as right as I think I am.

      • jessef says:

        Hi bmaz. Thanks for responding.

        I guess my point is that i don’t why we would rely on traditional common law principles when the underlying purpose of the reconstruction amendments was to upset those traditional principles in this specific area.

        I am also not sure how the law exactly works but as I understand it, it extends the maximum sentence and makes it easier to prosecute people who participated in the public display even if they were not necessarily involved in the killing itself—-which given how difficult it is to identify which individuals took which actions, seems pretty valuable from a prosecutor’s standpoint.

        Also, just to clarify, I didn’t say you weren’t as right as you think you are—-I said you aren’t as -clearly- right as you think you are. My point is that reasonable people can disagree with your view, not that your view isn’t right

        Again, if no criminal lawyer would ever support this, then why did so many former criminal lawyers in congress vote in favor?

        • bmaz says:

          Because they are a bunch of pandering politicians, not lawyers at this point. And very few were ever defense attorneys to start with, rather they were prosecutors happy to try to bludgeon defendants.

        • jessef says:

          I am a little confused. Is the law just for fee-fees or does it somehow abridge the due process rights of people who participate in lynchings?

        • bmaz says:

          I am sick of explaining this to you. Figure it out, or don’t. I really don’t give a damn.

        • jessef says:

          I am going to continue thinking it is a tool for prosecutors who can prove that someone was in a lynchmob but can’t identify the person who did the killing. I think it is useful but I can see why you disagree

          Cheers and I really do appreciate your response by the way

Comments are closed.