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Fred Phelps: dead, Dead, DEAD

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Re: Fred Phelps: dead, Dead, DEAD

Postby wack wack » Sat Mar 22, 2014 11:46 am

kurt_w wrote:I don't actually care much one way or the other about hate crimes laws in general, though I think the claim that they're "criminalizing thoughts" is a red herring.


Why?

That's not argumentative; I have great respect for you, kurt, and I'd like to hear your reasoning.

The moment I heard of the concept of "hate crime," I hated it for this exact reason: criminalizing thought. The crime is the crime; why you did it shouldn't matter.

As I've never really considered the issue in any other light, the idea of it being a red herring is strange to me.
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Re: Fred Phelps: dead, Dead, DEAD

Postby Henry Vilas » Sat Mar 22, 2014 11:52 am

Criminal intent (what the accused thinks) has always been a part of the penal code and is considered when judging guilt or innocence.
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Re: Fred Phelps: dead, Dead, DEAD

Postby kurt_w » Sat Mar 22, 2014 5:32 pm

Thanks for the compliment, wack wack. Henry basically nails it, IMHO. Many (most? all?) criminal cases involve determining what a person was thinking, rather than just what they did.

Betty runs over her husband Bob with the car. Did she do this ...

... as part of a carefully planned scheme to get his insurance?
... as a spontaneous unplanned act?
... out of fear for her own life?
... out of willful negligence?
... in a desperate attempt to save the children in the back seat from being crushed by a runaway truck?

and so on. All of the above could result in exactly the same action, but the intent would determine what kind of crime it was (or whether it was a crime at all). That's true of "regular" laws, not just "hate crime" laws.

But ... that said, I've never had a strong opinion one way or the other about this. I honestly don't know which way I'd vote if my state had a referendum on a hate crime law. I'm definitely open to being convinced either way.
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Re: Fred Phelps: dead, Dead, DEAD

Postby wack wack » Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:31 am

For the record, my feelings aren't that strong either.

Reviewing your examples:

Betty runs over her husband Bob with the car. Did she do this ...

... as part of a carefully planned scheme to get his insurance?
... as a spontaneous unplanned act?
... out of fear for her own life?
... out of willful negligence?
... in a desperate attempt to save the children in the back seat from being crushed by a runaway truck?


I don't believe these things are codified into law as hate crime enhancements are... are they? The intent is programmed, but not the entire thought process behind it. That's what bothers me, that we try to itemize things. Why shouldn't this be considered as a matter of character, as is commonly done in the scenario above, rather than a separate crime or official enhancement?

Betty clearly has a personal relationship with Bob, and I'm not sure how it could be suggested that any conflict between them might create a constitutional crisis. I feel, "I hate that n!&&#%" is protected speech and thought, "I hate my husband" is not.

Clearly, much of this is based on feeling. Certainly not saying I can't be convinced!
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Re: Fred Phelps: dead, Dead, DEAD

Postby kurt_w » Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:42 am

wack wack wrote:I don't believe these things are codified into law as hate crime enhancements are... are they? The intent is programmed, but not the entire thought process behind it. That's what bothers me, that we try to itemize things. Why shouldn't this be considered as a matter of character, as is commonly done in the scenario above, rather than a separate crime or official enhancement?

You could be right, about all of that (and the rest, too).

I am not a lawyer (thankfully).

But aren't the differences among first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and manslaughter kind of analogous to this?

If you kill someone negligently (but not on purpose) you get one sentence.

If you kill someone intentionally but without premeditation, you get a different sentence.

If you kill someone via advance preparation (premeditation) you get a still different sentence.

So there are various prescribed enhancements depending on what you were thinking at the time.

Somebody else around here probably can speak with more expertise, though!
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Re: Fred Phelps: dead, Dead, DEAD

Postby Henry Vilas » Mon Mar 24, 2014 10:18 am

Malice aforethought.

n. 1) the conscious intent to cause death or great bodily harm to another person before a person commits the crime. Such malice is a required element to prove first degree murder. 2) a general evil and depraved state of mind in which the person is unconcerned for the lives of others. Thus, if a person uses a gun to hold up a bank and an innocent bystander is killed in a shoot-out with police, there is malice aforethought.


Compare that to the McNaughton rule (knowing right from wrong). Otherwise know as the insanity plea.

Both involve thought, not just behavior.
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Re: Fred Phelps: dead, Dead, DEAD

Postby wack wack » Mon Mar 24, 2014 10:23 am

kurt_w wrote:
wack wack wrote:I don't believe these things are codified into law as hate crime enhancements are... are they? The intent is programmed, but not the entire thought process behind it. That's what bothers me, that we try to itemize things. Why shouldn't this be considered as a matter of character, as is commonly done in the scenario above, rather than a separate crime or official enhancement?

You could be right, about all of that (and the rest, too).

I am not a lawyer (thankfully).

But aren't the differences among first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and manslaughter kind of analogous to this?

If you kill someone negligently (but not on purpose) you get one sentence.

If you kill someone intentionally but without premeditation, you get a different sentence.

If you kill someone via advance preparation (premeditation) you get a still different sentence.

So there are various prescribed enhancements depending on what you were thinking at the time.

Somebody else around here probably can speak with more expertise, though!


I'm kinda surprised we haven't heard from one of the know-it-alls around here yet.

I feel hate crime is a step beyond the "intent schedule." We're asking not just, "did they mean to do it?" but "WHY did they mean to do it?" It seems we're moving closer to criminalizing character.

I suppose we're debating extreme nuance here.
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Re: Fred Phelps: dead, Dead, DEAD

Postby wack wack » Mon Mar 24, 2014 10:29 am

Henry Vilas wrote:Malice aforethought.

n. 1) the conscious intent to cause death or great bodily harm to another person before a person commits the crime. Such malice is a required element to prove first degree murder. 2) a general evil and depraved state of mind in which the person is unconcerned for the lives of others. Thus, if a person uses a gun to hold up a bank and an innocent bystander is killed in a shoot-out with police, there is malice aforethought.


Compare that to the McNaughton rule (knowing right from wrong). Otherwise know as the insanity plea.

Both involve thought, not just behavior.


I don't deny that we consider thought. However, let's look at number 2: is evil depravity scheduled? I don't think so. I've never heard of a depravity enhancement. But hate crimes are scheduled. So if I kill you because you're black I am punished more than if I kill you because I am a depraved psychopath.

As far as I understand the Constitution, hating you for being black is protected, while being a depraved psychopath is not.
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Re: Fred Phelps: dead, Dead, DEAD

Postby Dangerousman » Mon Mar 24, 2014 2:11 pm

wack wack wrote:
Henry Vilas wrote:Malice aforethought.

n. 1) the conscious intent to cause death or great bodily harm to another person before a person commits the crime. Such malice is a required element to prove first degree murder. 2) a general evil and depraved state of mind in which the person is unconcerned for the lives of others. Thus, if a person uses a gun to hold up a bank and an innocent bystander is killed in a shoot-out with police, there is malice aforethought.


Compare that to the McNaughton rule (knowing right from wrong). Otherwise know as the insanity plea.

Both involve thought, not just behavior.


I don't deny that we consider thought. However, let's look at number 2: is evil depravity scheduled? I don't think so. I've never heard of a depravity enhancement. But hate crimes are scheduled. So if I kill you because you're black I am punished more than if I kill you because I am a depraved psychopath.

As far as I understand the Constitution, hating you for being black is protected, while being a depraved psychopath is not.


Hate crime is an attempt to criminalize and punish thought. Looking at a person's intent is completely different. Intent determines if it is a crime at all. Intent means you forsee the consequences of an action and you proceed with the action.

If I run you over because the sun blinded me, there's no intent, probably no crime. If I run you over because you're wearing a Chicago Bears shirt, it's a crime, but not a hate crime (no matter how much I may hate the Bears.) If I run you over because you're gay or black, then it's a hate crime. Intention is the same in the second two examples: I foresee the consequences of running you over with my truck, and I do it anyway. There's no addtional punishment for hating the Bears, but there is for hating someone's race or sexual preference. So, there's no additonal punishment for simply hating people-- for whatever reason you may hate them-- unless it's one of a few select reasons that you hate them. One may think that it's you're right to hate based on race, but hate crime enhancers indicate otherwise.

I wonder how some people would feel if the legislature enacted a hate crime enhancer for when the crime was motivated by a hatred of say, Republicans?

Isn't there a slipperly slope when you pick and choose what sort of hate qualifies for "hate crime" and not just enhance all crimes that were motivated by hate? Look at crimes that have a penalty enhancer for use of a gun. They enhance the penalty regardless of the type of gun that was used. They don't say it only applies to handguns, or just semi-autos. With guns, it's across the board. With hate, it's not.
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Re: Fred Phelps: dead, Dead, DEAD

Postby jonnygothispen » Mon Mar 24, 2014 6:46 pm

Nathan Phelps surprising statement on the death of his father...

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/03/2 ... tail=email
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Re: Fred Phelps: dead, Dead, DEAD

Postby snoqueen » Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:59 pm

I think hate crime enhancers in sentencing, and hate crime laws, are another of those cases where the legislature attempted to make a statement of particular social values. Certain people are seen as being criminally victimized for no other reason but their membership in a particular social category. Another legally protected category is children, and nobody would argue we should get rid of those laws. I think the legislature was reasoning along somewhat (not exactly) the same lines when they created hate crimes legislation: victimization of a defined class of people elicits unique social outrage and that outrage comes to be expressed in the law.

I'm not sure the legal reasoning, strictly speaking, has ever been as important (or as straightforward) as the expression-of-social-values aspect.

Naturally, laws like these become a target for those who don't share the values they were meant to express. If everybody in society shared the values the laws tried to codify, there would have been no need for the laws at all. The values were seen as needing codification because not everybody "got it." Probably the thinking goes " we can't stop you from hating, but we can penalize you if you act it out."

The other objection to these laws is on the ground they do little to change offensive behavior and probably not much to protect the victimized groups. The response to this is, of course, is lots of other well-accepted laws do little in the way of prevention and we don't move to throw them all out. They're either less controversial altogether, or less of a flash point for those who are trying to make a big statement of their disagreement.

I don't know what I think about the whole thing. In a way hate crimes laws are feel-good legislation. I wish we had more resources for victim restitution, which might actually do something to redress a wrong.
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Re: Fred Phelps: dead, Dead, DEAD

Postby kurt_w » Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:34 am

Dangerousman wrote:Hate crime is an attempt to criminalize and punish thought.

Not exactly, no. You can think whatever you want, as long as it doesn't lead you to commit a crime.

The law doesn't care if you spend your whole day, dawn to dusk, mentally soaking in hatred for blacks or whites or gays or straights or whatever. The law doesn't care if you publish those thoughts far and wide. It's only when you commit a violent crime that the law takes notice.

Again, the analogy is to first-degree vs second-degree murder. In both cases the murderer kills someone intentionally. What is different is their thought process.

I wonder how some people would feel if the legislature enacted a hate crime enhancer for when the crime was motivated by a hatred of say, Republicans?

Such a law would be written to allow a hate crime enhancer for when a crime is motivated by hatred based on political beliefs, or partisan affiliation, or ideology, or something equally neutral in its wording. Thus, the law would discourage attacks on Republicans, Democrats, Greens, Libertarians, and Communists, not just one specific party.

And in fact, as of 2007, the ADL reported that four states' hate-crime laws do include "political affiliation" (California, Iowa, Louisiana, and West Virginia).

Isn't there a slipperly slope when you pick and choose what sort of hate qualifies for "hate crime" and not just enhance all crimes that were motivated by hate?

Probably. That's one of the arguments against such laws. On the other hand, "slippery slope" arguments only get you so far.
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Re: Fred Phelps: dead, Dead, DEAD

Postby Dangerousman » Wed Mar 26, 2014 8:18 am

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Re: Fred Phelps: dead, Dead, DEAD

Postby ilikebeans » Wed Mar 26, 2014 11:11 am

Dangerousman wrote:Meanwhile ....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wug0am22pGE

Oh man, thanks-- this will keep me entertained for weeks (even if the translation isn't real).
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Re: Fred Phelps: dead, Dead, DEAD

Postby Dangerousman » Wed Mar 26, 2014 12:44 pm

It is too funny to not share it.

Oh man, I first typed "to not shart it." That would have been a funny typo.
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