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 legal field. During his legal career he was licensed to practice law in the States of Texas and New York.Judge Calisi attended Western New England College Law School and was awarded his Juris Doctorate in 1976 at the age of 23. He began his legal career in 1978 in South Texas as an attorney with the Anti-Poverty Program Volunteers in Service to America, or "VISTA." VISTA is the Domestic Section of the Peace Corps.After completing his duties with VISTA, Judge Calisi moved on to the Cameron County, Texas District Attorney's Office. He served as Chief Felony Prosecutor, where he had a 100% conviction rate, prosecuting serious drug and death penalty cases.Later he moved on to the Dallas County, Texas Public Defender's Office where he represented the indigent in criminal defense cases.Upon leaving the Dallas County Public Defender's Office Judge Calisi opened his law firm Calisi and Associates, P.C. where he and his colleagues practiced personal injury and criminal defense law.Judge Calisi was appointed to the bench in 1985. He served as a Municipal Judge in Collin County, Texas for 10 years. He retired from the practice of law in 2008 and now works as a legal consultant.Judge Calisi is married and lives in Arizona. He has two daughters and four grandchildren. He has pursued his passion and plays the piano professionally at venues in the Scottsdale-Phoenix area.

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