Deciding When Hate is a Crime: The First Amendment, Police Detectives, and the Identification of Hate Crime

44 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2013

See all articles by Jeannine Bell

Jeannine Bell

Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Date Written: 2002

Abstract

This Article adds to the debate a story of how hate crime law is enforced, based on the experiences of the police detectives who are required to enforce hate crime law. Part I of this Article provides a brief description of hate crime laws and argues that the police play an important role in the determination of how hate crime law is enforced and ultimately, whether defendants’ First Amendment rights will be respected. Part II describes critics’ concerns about defendants’ First Amendment rights and the narrow constitutional line that enforcers of hate crime law must walk between enforcing hate crime and policing free speech. In Part III, I describe how enforcers decide that incidents are hate crimes and argue that they are able to avoid the pitfalls identified by critics. The Article concludes in Part IV with a discussion of the disconnect between hate crimes and hate speech and an exploration of new justifications for hate crime law.

Keywords: police, detectives, hate crime, hate speech, First Amendment, law enforcement, discretion

Suggested Citation

Bell, Jeannine, Deciding When Hate is a Crime: The First Amendment, Police Detectives, and the Identification of Hate Crime (2002). Rutgers Race and the Law Review, Vol. 4, 2002, Indiana Legal Studies Research Paper No. 262, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2292567

Jeannine Bell (Contact Author)

Indiana University Maurer School of Law ( email )

211 S. Indiana Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States
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812-855-0555 (Fax)

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