Tuesday, June 23, 2009

S.909 Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act

S.909 Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act

Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act - Adopts the definition of "hate crime" as set forth in the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (i.e., a crime in which the defendant intentionally selects a victim or, in the case of a property crime, the property that is the object of the crime because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation of any person). Authorizes the Attorney General to:

(1) provide state, local, or tribal law enforcement agencies with technical, forensic, prosecutorial, or other assistance in the investigation or prosecution of violent crimes and hate crimes; and
(2) award grants to assist such agencies with the extraordinary expenses associated with the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes. Authorizes the Office of Justice Programs to award grants to state, local, or tribal programs designed to combat hate crimes committed by juveniles. Authorizes appropriations to the Department of Justice (DOJ), including the Community Relations Service, for FY2010-FY2012 to prevent and respond to hate crime acts. Amends the federal criminal code to prohibit willfully causing bodily injury to any person because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of such person. Amends the Hate Crimes Statistics Act to expand data collection and reporting requirements under such Act to include:

(1) crimes manifesting prejudice based on gender and gender identity; and
(2) hate crimes committed by and against juveniles. Declares that nothing in this Act shall be construed to prohibit the exercise of constitutionally-protected free speech.

Comment: This bill targets religious beliefs, and is another measure to remove the 1st Amendment from our civil rights.


JohnJ said...

The definition of a hate crime is a crime committed against a person because of their status as a member of a group. However, the very fact that particular groups are named provides protection only to particular groups instead of treating all people equally. Not only is this a violation of equal protection, it's divisive and promotes intolerance. Not to mention the violation of federalism.

Rick said...

More of the federalization of our local police departments.