Bias Crimes: What Do Haters Deserve
Jeffrie G. Murphy
Arizona State University College of Law
Criminal Justice Ethics, Vol. 11, p. 20, 1992
This article responds to the argument made by Susan Gellman stating that it has long been recognized as illegitimate for the criminal law to regard motives material or defining elements of cranial offenses, and hate crimes, which punish people more severely when they act by reason of racial bias or hatred, are thereby making motives into material or defining elements. Thus hate crimes are illegitimate. This argument is unpersuasive because it is simply false in any important sense that the criminal law never takes account of motives as elements. Also, it fails because even if criminal law were to never take account of motives as an element to a crime, then the criminal law has been resting upon a mistake and ought to be improved by allowing motives sometimes to count, particularly in cases like hate crimes. Additionally, the very concept of harm or injury cannot be understood independently of motives and other mental states. If one objects to the validity of hate crimes solely based upon their supposed inconsistency with the non-motive considering criminal law, then one has no valid objection to hate crimes.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 4
Keywords: Hate Crimes, Criminal Law, Motive
Date posted: August 6, 2009
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