Hate Crimes Guide

The US government defines a hate crime as, “a criminal act (such as property damage, assault or harassment) motivated by the perpetrator’s bias against a person or group of people based on their sexual orientation, race or religion.”

While the USA first criminalized these acts in 1964, hate crimes have been occurring since the beginning of time, many being of historical note such as the Roman’s persecution of Christians, the Holocaust, and the more recent ethnic cleansing in Bosnia.

According to the FBI, local law enforcement agencies reported 9,168 hate crime offenses in 2008. Of these incidents, the victim’s sexual orientation motivated 1,617 cases, their race motivated 4,704 cases and their religion motivated 1,606 cases.

Laws and Legislation

Infamous Cases

  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch The story of serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin, who targeted “mixed-race” couples.
  • Mississippi Burning Case A website dedicated to this 1964 case involving the murder of three African-American men by several KKK members.
  • Matthew Shepard A website dedicated to Matthew Shepard, beaten to death by two men because of his sexual orientation.
  • CNN A news story detailing the shooting at an LA Jewish community center by Buford Furrow provides details of the story.




Psychology Behind Hate Crimes and Other Studies

Human Rights Resources

Answerer Photo

Judge Calisi has over 30 years' experience in the law. He's been a Personal Injury Attorney, Chief Felony Prosecutor, Criminal Defense Attorney, and he spent 10 years on the bench as the Presiding Municipal Judge in Collin County Texas (Dallas). Few attorney-educators have both the range and depth of legal knowledge afforded by Judge Calisi.

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