Headline of the day: Lawyer: Lesbians’ assault on gay man can’t be hate crime

Posted by: ST on February 26, 2012 at 12:34 pm

A  “hate crime” that shows the fallacy of “hate crime laws” – via The Boston Herald (hat tip):

Three women identified by their lawyers as lesbians were arraigned yesterday on a hate crime charge for allegedly beating a gay man at the Forest Hills T station in an unusual case that experts say exposes the law’s flawed logic.

“My guess is that no sane jury would convict them under those circumstances, but what this really demonstrates is the idiocy of the hate-crime legislation,” said civil liberties lawyer Harvey Silverglate. “If you beat someone up, you’re guilty of assault and battery of a human being. Period. The idea of trying to break down human beings into categories is doomed to failure.”

Prosecutors and the ACLU of Massachusetts said no matter the defendants’ sexual orientation, they can still face the crime of assault and battery with intent to intimidate, which carries up to a 10-year prison sentence, by using hateful language.

“Someone who is Jewish can be anti-Semitic,” said ACLU staff attorney Sarah Wunsch. “The mere fact that someone is a member of the same class doesn’t mean they could not be motivated by hatred for their very own group.”

But Carolyn Euell, 38, mother of two of the defendants, Erika Stroud, 21, of Dorchester and Felicia Stroud, 18, West Roxbury, told reporters the alleged attack “can’t be hateful” because both her daughters are lesbians.

Prosecutor Lindsey Weinstein said the two sisters and one of their domestic partners, Lydia Sanford, also a defendant, viciously beat the man Sunday, repeatedly punching and kicking him after he bumped them with his backpack on a stairwell.

She said the victim, who suffered a broken nose, told cops he believed the attack was “motivated as a crime because of his sexual orientation” since the three women “called him insulting homophobic slurs.”

But attorney Helene Tomlinson, who represented Sanford, told the judge her client is “openly identified as a lesbian … so any homophobic (conduct) is unwarranted.” She said the alleged victim was the aggressor and used racial slurs: “He provoked them.”

Take it away, Don Surber:

What are the odds of getting a sane jury in Massachusetts? This is a state that regularly crooks and acts surprised when they go to jail. Is it the last three or four of the Speakers of the House in Massachusetts that have gone to prison? I lost count.

I seldom use the word Orwellian, but if I did I would apply the word to this statement from ACLU staff attorney Sarah Wunsch: “Someone who is Jewish can be anti-Semitic. The mere fact that someone is a member of the same class doesn’t mean they could not be motivated by hatred for their very own group.”

Pardon me but lesbians are not quite in the same group as gay men. In our insane insistence in labeling everyone as a member of some oppressed demographic group, we have drawn a distinction between lesbians and gays, segregating homosexuals by gender.

This case is proof that conservatives were right when they opposed this hate crimes nonsense. All violent crimes are hate. An additional 10 years in prison for saying a magic word while you are beating the crap out of someone is chilling. Like it or lump it, the Constitution protects bullies from reprisal for calling someone the N-word or other slur. Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me. Let’s go after the sticks and stones and leave the name-calling alone.

Not only that, but why should the exact same crime be punished differently depending on the race/sex/orientation of the victim and the perp?? I got into a debate with a liberal on this years ago and he actually told me, in a hypothetical sense, that a gang of white guys who raped a black woman should get longer punishment than a gang of white guys who raped a white woman because the black woman was more “targeted” than a white woman would be.  I would think that the more random the crime the scarier? I  mean, if you’re in a so-called “targeted group”, generall speaking it’s likely you’re going to be more on guard for the possibility of attack versus someone who isn’t part of a so-called “minority group” – - – right?

It’s insane.

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19 Responses to “Headline of the day: Lawyer: Lesbians’ assault on gay man can’t be hate crime”

Comments

  1. Phineas says:

    This is a superb example of why hate-crime laws, which criminalize words and thought and seek to magically divine intent, are worse than worthless.

  2. Xrlq says:

    Canadian hate crime laws criminalize speech. Ours do not. Seems unlikely to me that this crime was motivated by lesbians animosity towards gays. But if it was, throw the book at ‘em.

  3. Tom TB says:

    Until we define a “Love Crime” we can’t define a “Hate Crime”. Criminal acts are just that; and it doesn’t matter to the victim whether the perp was motivated by the color of the shirt he/she happened to be wearing that day.

  4. SteveP says:

    Hate crime is thought crime. Whether or not a particular crime is a hate crime depends on what a third party (the prosecutor) believes the perpetrator was thinking when the crime was committed. Hate crime is also political, as is evident any time a white person is a victim of a crime committed by a minority.
    Orwellian, indeed.

  5. Xrlq says:

    Meh. Criminal law is based on intent all the time. First degree murder is not automatically punishable by death in most states (any?) but becomes so if it is motivated by financial gain. Why, because we hate capitalism? No, because we as a society have determined that some motives for murder (or whatever other crime) are aggravating factors. Should hatred of an identified group be one of those factors? That is the question, and the answer isn’t nearly as easy as hate crime law bashers often claim. [Again, I stress, haters of U.S. hate crimes, which require actual, like, crimes.]

  6. Xrlq says:

    Not only that, but why should the exact same crime be punished differently depending on the race/sex/orientation of the victim and the perp??

    It’s not. It depends on the motive of the crime. That the perp had one race/sex/orientation and the victim another is not enough.

    I got into a debate with a liberal on this years ago and he actually told me, in a hypothetical sense, that a gang of white guys who raped a black woman should get longer punishment than a gang of white guys who raped a white woman because the black woman was more “targeted” than a white woman would be.

    Solely because of the race, or because the hypothetical gang had indeed targeted her on that basis? Big difference.

    I would think that the more random the crime the scarier? I mean, if you’re in a so-called “targeted group”, generall speaking it’s likely you’re going to be more on guard for the possibility of attack versus someone who isn’t part of a so-called “minority group” – – – right?

    Right, and that’s precisely the argument for hate crime laws. Truly random crimes are bad enough, but targeted ones implicitly threaten the entire group. Which would you be more afraid of, reading about a number random rapes in your area of town, or reading about a string of rapes specifically targeting white women for being white women? Both crimes are identical as against the victim herself, but one is seen as an attack on the group as well.

  7. Zachriel says:

    Xrlq: Criminal law is based on intent all the time.

    Quite so.

    The reason for hate crime legislation is because lynching a black man is not merely murder, but a threat against an entire community. Not only can that lead to fear and oppression, unpunished, it can lead to open and violent conflict between groups.

  8. Carlos says:

    If they ever made stupidity a crime they’d have to lock up liberals/statists/marxists. Prima facie evidence and all that…

  9. Toa says:

    In cases like this in which all the subjects are members of special “protected” groups, “Liberals” usually base their judgment of who is the guilty party upon which “protected” group they are most intimidated by. Evidently it was teh ghey man this time, as “Liberals” are not exactly prone to charge blacks with any “hate crimes” (unless said blacks are Conservatives, Christians, and other “non-protected” categories). :-?

  10. Marshall Art says:

    “Intent” in criminal law is generally a matter of intent to commit the crime. That is to say, if one kills another, was murder the intention? It doesn’t matter what the reason for the murder was, but only that the intention was to commit murder. THAT’S how the law worked until now.

    The only time one’s thoughts matter in murder cases is when the perp believes his own life is endangered by NOT killing the other guy, in which case it is not murder as much as self-defense, though legally only the sentence will be mitigated (that is, you still can’t go killing people).

    In the same way, it doesn’t matter why one person wants to beat the snot out of another person, but only that the intention was to beat the snot out of the other person. Who cares what the motivation is? A club to the side of the head hurts just the same.

  11. Xrlq says:

    Marshall, the law has NEVER worked like that. Motives don’t constitute the crime, but have always been relevant as potential aggravating or mitigating circumstances. Counting racial or ethnic animums, bias against gays, etc. among these factors is relatively new, but considering motivate at all is not. And yes, a murder that starts a race war hurts a lot more than a murder that doesn’t. It doesn’t hurt the individual victim any more, of course, but it’s a much bigger problem to society as a whole.

    That said, this case seems to be a ridiculous application of hate crime laws. Yes, it is POSSIBLE for members of a group to be biased against their own group, but where’s the evidence that was the motive here?

  12. Ken66 says:

    I personally know a mysogynistic woman, I kid you not. Does anyone think she should be beaten up too? More on the topic, I don’t believe that a gay acting like a jerk should be given any special considerations just because he’s gay either.

  13. Carlos says:

    But with victim-group laws, Ken, the gay would get special consideration according to what group his victim belonged to. For instance, if his victim was a garden variety white male, the fact he was a jerk would not count at all. In this case the jerk was a loser because the victims of his “jerkness” happened to be members of at least as special a victim group as he was, hence their “victimhood” outweighed his.

    Plain and simple. And really, really dumb. This prioritizing of victimhood will eventually bring about a backlash liberals cannot imagine, mostly because their flights of fantasy don’t allow for unintended consequences.

  14. Tex says:

    So Euell, the mother of two of the defendants, is claiming her two little angels couldn’t possibly have tried to beat the guy nearly to death out of hate because he was gay – because they’re also gay. So what she’s really saying is that her two little angels simply tried to beat the guy nearly to death because he accidentally brushed one of them with his backpack in a stairwell. I’m not seeing how that’s gonna make it less likely they’re gonna end up in jail from a legal standpoint. Because apparently, according to her reasoning, you can just simply want to beat someone nearly to death for no reason at all, and that’s OK.

    The inner workings of the Liberal mind are just a mystery to me.

  15. Drew the Infidel says:

    Would it be a hate crime if I told an attacker, “I hate to do this but I’m about to blow your ass away” and then followed through?

  16. Zachriel says:

    Tex: But with victim-group laws, Ken, the gay would get special consideration according to what group his victim belonged to.

    It doesn’t actually matter what group the victim belongs to. For instance, if the perpetrator is trying to intimidate Arabs, but attacks a Sikh planting flowers instead, it’s still a hate-crime.
    http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/arizona/article_c81a3ee0-d8e3-11e0-9bb5-001cc4c002e0.html

  17. Zippy says:

    Seems more like they have rage issues than anything else, along with hatred of men. So.. along with incarceration, they need some extensive therapy to determine the cause of their violent rage attacks. I imagine anyone walking solo who might have ‘touched them accidentally’ would have sparked their venom.

    Hate crime seems to be specific but never seems to be called such when whites or non gays are the victim.

  18. Trish says:

    First of all- this sentence is it in a nutshell:
    “If you beat someone up, you’re guilty of assault and battery of a human being. Period. The idea of trying to break down human beings into categories is doomed to failure.”
    Second of all, this lucky lady has 2 gay daughters? Right. Well, I’d say the judge ought to charge all three of to assault and battery and sentence them just as he would two gay men. Or two straight men. Or two Jewish men/women. And that sentence should be the same for each and all who perform assault and battery on a human being.
    Period.

  19. Zachriel says:

    Zippy: Hate crime seems to be specific but never seems to be called such when whites or non gays are the victim.

    Over a thousand blacks were charged in the U.S. with hate crimes in 2009. If people can attack members of another race and only be charged for simple assault, then it can result in oppression or open conflict.
    http://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/2009hatecrimestats_112210