Punishing Hate

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Harvard University Press, Jun 30, 2009 - Law - 285 pages
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Bias crimes are a scourge on our society. Is there a more terrifying image in the mind's eye than that of the burning cross? "Punishing Hate" examines the nature of bias-motivated violence and provides a foundation for understanding bias crimes and their treatment under the U.S. legal system.

In this tightly argued book, Frederick Lawrence poses the question: Should bias crimes be punished more harshly than similar crimes that are not motivated by bias? He answers strongly in the affirmative, as do a great many scholars and citizens, but he is the first to provide a solid theoretical grounding for this intuitive agreement, and a detailed model for a bias crimes statute based on the theory. The book also acts as a strong corrective to recent claims that concern about hate crimes is overblown. A former prosecutor, Lawrence argues that the enhanced punishment of bias crimes, with a substantial federal law enforcement role, is not only permitted by doctrines of criminal and constitutional law but also mandated by our societal commitment to equality.

Drawing upon a wide variety of sources, from law and criminology, to sociology and social psychology, to today's news, "Punishing Hate" will have a lasting impact on the contentious debate over treatment of bias crimes in America.

 

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Contents

The Challenges of Punishing Hate
1
1 What Is a Bias Crime?
9
2 How Are Bias Crimes Different?
29
3 Why Are Bias Crimes Worse?
45
4 Who Is Guilty of a Bias Crime?
64
5 Are Bias Crime Laws Constitutional?
80
6 What Is the Federal Role in Prosecuting Bias Crimes?
110
7 Why Punish Hate?
161
Appendixes
177
Notes
205
Bibliographical Essay
253
Acknowledgments
261
Index
265
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About the author (2009)

Frederick M. Lawrence is Associate Dean and Professor of Law at the Boston University School of Law.

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