Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 30, 2009 / 9 Menachem-Av 5769

No thin line between murder and hate

By Debra J. Saunders

Debra J. Saunders



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When the Senate passed a federal hate-crimes measure by a 63-28 earlier this month, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., proclaimed, "This legislation will help to address the serious and growing problem of hate crimes."


I'm baffled. Washington passed the first federal hate-crimes bill in 1968 and 45 states have enacted hate-crime laws. This latest bill, the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act, expanded the list of hate crimes — which originally focused on attacks based on the victims' race, color, religion or national origin — to include those targeted because of their gender, sexual [preference], gender identity or disability.


If hate-crime laws prevent hate crimes, shouldn't hate crimes be shrinking, not growing?


Forgive the question, because there's nothing glib about any crime of violence. The 1998 torture-murder of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard — who was found tied to a fence, battered and shoeless in the cold — was so cruel that it took Shepard three days to die.


Attorneys for one of Shepard's killers, Aaron McKinney, tried to introduce a "gay panic" defense, to explain why a crime that started as a robbery ended in death. The judge refused to allow the bogus defense and a jury found McKinney guilty of felony murder. To avoid the death penalty, his accomplice had pleaded guilty to the killing. Both are serving double life sentences.


It's hard to understand how a federal hate-crimes law could send a stronger message than life in prison. Or a stronger message than the response of security guards at the Holocaust Museum, who, after white supremacist James Von Brunn fatally shot guard Stephen T. Johns in June, shot Von Brunn in the face. With or without the Shepard act, Von Brunn could face the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder.


Federal law allows for prosecutions only under narrow circumstances — such as if a victim is at a public school, voting or serving as a juror. The Shepard act's most important expansion, however, is that it would allow the feds to prosecute hate crimes if, as supporter Attorney General Eric Holder testified, states lack the "capacity," "willingness" or "desire to prosecute these kinds of cases."


Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., claimed the measure he sponsored "closes the flagrant loopholes that for too long have prevented effective prosecution of these shocking crimes that terrorize entire groups of communities across America."


Yet Holder testified that he does not think "that there is a trend among the states or local jurisdictions in failing to go after these kinds of crimes."


So why change the federal law? After all, district attorneys are free to present bigotry as a motive at trial. When three white supremacists dragged James Byrd, 49, to death because he was a black man, Texas prosecutors won two death sentences and a life sentence for the 1998 crime.


Criminal Justice Legal Foundation President Michael Rushford noted that the problem with hate-crime laws is that they're "subjective." He believes prosecutors have a better chance prosecuting the crime — not the motive. And these crimes are horrific enough.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment JWR contributor Debra J. Saunders' column by clicking here.

Debra J. Saunders Archives

© 2009, Creators Syndicate

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles