In response to the Dharun Ravi trail, Tish Durkin trashes hate crimes laws:
Is a maniac who opens fire in a shopping mall less objectionable than a maniac who opens fire in a gay club? Does a man who kills his daughter out of anger that she is having sex with a man deserve less punishment than a man who kills his daughter out of anger that she is having sex with a woman? A college lacrosse player was recently convicted of beating his ex-girlfriend to death, apparently enraged that she had begun a relationship with a player for another team. If the victim had begun seeing a female lacrosse player, or an African-American, would her murder have been worse?
Along the same lines, James Jacobs claims that hate crime laws are mostly used against small-time criminals:
In the 1980s, proponents of the original bias crime laws said they meant to go after murderous plots by members of neo-Nazi and similar hard-core hate groups. Now, bias crime prosecutions most often involve young defendants, frequently mixed-up teenagers, who commit low-level offenses like criminal mischief and simple assault, typically escalating from spontaneous altercations at a party, in a parking lot or at a school event.