Saturday, July 4, 2009

Hate Crimes Senate 909

I've been getting feverish communications from our friends on the right about the "Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act.” The range of misinformation is staggering.

"The Bottom Line" [here up top....]"
The "Family Research Center" pushes the most common misunderstanding: the bill "establishes ,thought crimes.'"
Simply put, our criminal law has always required an "evil mind" ('mens rea') as one element of a criminal offense, and the nastier the thought, the higher the penalty - everyone has heard of "first degree" and second degree" murder, and the main distinction is the actors state of mind.
This Bill (Senate Bill 909 Simply adds another nasty state of mind as an element to establish that a crime has occurred.

What to do: The Family Research Center advocates "flooding the offices of three Committee Democrats whose votes could make all the difference--Arkansas's Blanche Lincoln, phone: 202-224-4843; Arkansas's Mark Pryor, phone: 202-224-2353; and Alaska's Mark Begich, phone: 202-224-3004."

Feel free to add your views to "the flood."
You can call, as above, or email at
Blanche Lincoln:
Mark Prior:
Mark Begich:

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