Hate crimes

The Idea of a Hate Crimes Offender Registry Is Absurd

Let's not come up with new reasons to continue punishing ex-cons after the fact.

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Hate
Artur Marciniec / Dreamstime.com

Somebody let California Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra (D-San Fernando Valley) know that the current criminal justice reform trend is supposed to be about helping released criminals who have served their time and done their penance re-establish stable lives in their community and get jobs. We're not supposed to be finding ways to make their lives even worse.

Bocanegra is engaging in a round of post-Donald-Trump-election legislation as social signaling that is bound to make life harder for a small class of criminals. On the basis of the reported increase in hate crimes in California (which the legislator attributes to Trump's election) Bocanegra is attempting to create a new crime registry. He wants to make a database for people to look up anybody who has been convicted of a hate crime. He declares:

The Hate Crime Registry will be an important public safety tool to better protect individuals and communities from hate crimes, help reverse this deeply troubling trend, and significantly reduce hate crimes in California. In the coming months, I will work diligently to bring together Democrats and Republicans, law enforcement and victims' rights groups, to take immediate steps send a clear message to perpetrators that violence rooted in bigotry and bias will not be tolerated in California.

He has introduced AB 39, which has no actual content as yet. It's just an announcement of an intent to pass further legislation to establish this registry.

On what basis is Bocanegra claiming that such a registry would protect individuals from hate crimes? He provides no data on hate crime repeat offenders. Are there any? A quick check of the state's numbers on hate crime convictions shows 119 total convictions for 2015 (CORRECTION: While there were 119 convictions of various charges connected to hate crimes, there were actually only 59 hate crime convictions for 2015. I misread the numbers). The most annual convictions they've listed for hate crimes in recent years was in 2009: 223 of them. The population of California is approaching 40 million.

The model for the assemblyman is obviously sex offender registries, but we're seeing more and more information every single year that sex offender registries are not effective and end up containing the names of people who may have committed crimes in the past but are no danger to the community and are not predators. Lenore Skenazy just went over a case last weekend of a mother of three on the registry forever due to her behavior as a teen.

These registries are awful, and there's no reason to think that a hate crime registry would be any better, particularly given that hate crimes are also a sentence enhancement. That means a person could be charged with a hate crime in connection to a murder … or in connection with vandalism. A database assumes that these people are all equally threats to the public due to the commission of a crime and assumes they'll maintain a bigoted attitude toward people based on their religion or race or sexuality or what have you, forever.

It's odd for a legislator to propose such a database given the criminal justice "ban the box" push, encouraging employers wait until they're offering somebody a job to check their criminal background. The City of Los Angeles just passed a law prohibiting using criminal history from weeding out early applicants (which is a terrible encroachment on private businesses' right to set employment practices, but that's another issue). The law will go into effect later in the month.

With a hate crime database, an employer wouldn't need to ask a job-seeker about their criminal background. They can just look up their name. And heaven forbid they have a name similar to somebody else in the database.

This is an awful, terrible law that the legislature should reject out of hand. Based on the data we've gotten from sex offender registries, this proposal will do little good but has a great potential to cause unneeded hardship.

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  1. This is an awful, terrible law that the legislature should reject out of hand.

    So, passes with huge bipartisan majorities?

  2. Hate Thought crimes are so heinous they can never be truly paid for, and should have no statute of limitations.

    1. Hate crimes shouldn’t be an enhancement. You should be prosecuted for your thoughts, even if you keep them to yourself. Now report for your polygraph!

  3. “Bocanegra is engaging in a round of post-Donald-Trump-election legislation as social signaling that is bound to make life harder for a small class of criminals.”

    Ouch, when Scott Shackford accuses you of social signaling, you must really have gone off the deep end.

    1. Not to be confused with the pre-Donald-Trump-election legislation as social signalling.

    2. You’re confusing Scott with Robby. Scott is actually honest and genuinely doesn’t understand the attitude that one’s Culture War enemies need to be treated with Mongol-like severity.

      We’re not supposed to be finding ways to make their lives even worse.

      The whole point is to punish the enemies harshly, so they can’t live their lives the way they want to. It’s to make people you hate suffer as much as possible.

      1. The social signalling with Mr. Soave is much more obvious, but *in my opinion,* Mr. Shackford does it, too, with his defense of local home rule when it comes to municipal “anti-discrimination” laws – apparently such laws should only be challenged in court on constitutional or “charter” grounds, not simply overturned by the state legislature.

        This lets him keep on the anti-HB2 bandwagon.

        In my opinion.

        1. See, I bet he’d be down with the reverse – a Conservative Californa county makes HB2 equivalent? California Assembly shouldn’t intervene, and should wait for the courts.

          1. If he did make that case, he wouldn’t be writing for Reason very long. You know, cocktail parties and all

      2. You’re confusing Scott with Robby. Scott is actually honest and genuinely doesn’t understand the attitude that one’s Culture War enemies need to be treated with Mongol-like severity.

        OIC, Robby would actually advocate social signalling like a Hate Crime registry while Shackford just sincerely and civilly wants Christian bakers to bake him a cake.

        1. No, he actually wants the bakers not to be forced if they don’t want to. He’s perfectly willing to take his business elsewhere. It’s just that he doesn’t understand that option is not on the table, and that the whole point was to take it off the table.
          As he wrote

          As for me, I’ve reached the point where I just want people to stop trying to find ways to punish each other. I do want gay couples to be able to get their marriage licenses in Rowan County and not have to go elsewhere. But I don’t want Kim Davis thrown in jail. I generally don’t want anybody thrown in jail unless they’re a physical threat to people’s safety or property. I understand why this decision happened and the legal principles behind it, but as somebody who celebrated when Gavin Newsom defied California law years ago and married off same-sex couples and who just recently wrote positively about a police chief refusing to arrest heroin users if they were willing to go to rehab instead, I find these kinds of punitive responses to nonviolent defiance deeply unsettling.

          1. I’ve read points from him that might be described as waffling on the statement you quote. The specific issue aside, my point was that Scott was more of a respectable pacifist rather than straight up libertarian.

            Certainly no stormtroopers or cattle cars behind Scott’s mask, still plenty of room for re-Neducation centers.

            Better than many others by some measures but still plenty of decently oppressive notions.

          2. Certainly, he’s not as far gone as the SJWs on this issue, and he’s no Robby Soave.

            So long as Reason actually prioritizes liberty, then they’re not going to be nearly as repressive on social issues as the people who reject liberty.

            The problem is their trying to keep this coalition with the imaginary liberaltarians – keep looking for the liberaltarians, I’ll keep looking for Bigfoot, let’s see who finds what they’re looking for first.

      3. Scott is actually honest and genuinely doesn’t understand the attitude that one’s Culture War enemies need to be treated with Mongol-like severity.

        seconded. Scott is the least-guilty person in the gang.

        1. OK, but his local home-rule position appears *in my opinion* based on not wanting to say anything good about HB2.

          If he’s a big home rule guy, then he should take the same position regarding local laws against renting your house – Reason has run articles that state legislatures should overrule such local laws. A debate between Shackford and other staff on this issue would perhaps bring out the contrasting views.

          1. I appreciate that the writers have some independence and don’t march in lockstep, but when their stated positions are so contrasting they should acknowledge this and maybe try to debate each other.

            1. Don’t expect them to enact your labor. Read their articles and think for yourself.

            2. The ‘home rule’ argument was a pathetic dodge.

    3. when Scott Shackford accuses you of social signaling, you must really have gone off the deep end

      First of all, you’re stealing john’s thunder, second, you need to say, “Scott Spacklefarb”

  4. The City of Los Angeles just passed a law prohibiting using criminal history from weeding out early applicants

    There ya go. Who cares if you’re branded forever if nobody can hold it against you?

    1. Obama’s been pushing that shit when it comes to housing on the basis that it’s racist because certain people are more likely to have criminal records.

      1. Isn’t that cultural appropriation by Obama?!?!

        I think we got him!

  5. The Idea of a Hate Crimes Offender Registry Is Absurd

    FIFY.

    Apparently, societal debts are never paid in our country.

    1. Even the Catholics let you buy your way out of hell.

      1. Catholics let you buy your way out of little boys.

          1. Do I even want to get into that?

            OK, priestly child abuse is sacrilege because of the sacred character of his office – hence it’s worse when a priest does it than when even a coach does it, bad as the latter is. The corruption which winks at this is scandalous and has probably created more atheists than Hitchens and Dennett put together.

            But one doesn’t buy one’s way out of Hell (as I hope the abuse offenders realize before it’s too late). One can get an indulgence remitting the spiritual penalty for sins you’ve *already confessed and repented.* This limits one’s stay in Purgatory. Some specific work – like a pilgrimage – is given by which one gets an indulgence. Contributing to the church is no longer offered as a way to an indulgence, because the abuses led to that practice being banned.

            1. Agreed. None let’s stop bashing the Catholics and get back to the real enemies: those shifty Amish. What’s behind that bonnet? Nothing good, I tell you

  6. What potential employer would not want to know if an applicant was once suspended from high school for trolling his fellow students by sticking a Confederate battle flag on his pickup truck?

    1. In California? Probably 80%+ HR departments would be interested and jump on the opportunity to use such a registry.

  7. It is not absurd, it is evil. We already keep public records of criminal convictions. All a new “registry” would do is force people to register and then make them criminals when they did not.

    1. thats the beauty of it when “registered” people forget to tell all their neighbors and schools their kids attend that they are a registered “X” they can punish them further for more of whatever they deem is needed. so we will all be criminals.
      Note Hawaii wanted to pass a law that all gun owners needed to be on some type criminal watch registry I don’t know if that past or not.

    2. All a new “registry” would do is force people to register and then make them criminals when they did not.

      Just like current registries, it will expand the definition of what an actual crime and label people as criminals regardless of conviction, actual crime, or even clerical error.

      1. Registries are great recipes for witch hunts.

  8. once everyone is on a registry we will al be safe.

  9. “Kid, have you rehabilitated yoreself?”

  10. How does crime equal more crime?.

    I had a sandwich today. It became more of a sandwich when I put my mind to it.

  11. “There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”

    Hey Raul, how about we have a registry of people who run for office instead? I think that list might come in pretty handy.

  12. I think felons not being able to vote is absurd too. Once you are punished or exonerated for your crime you should get your rights back.

    1. Agreed. That is always a tough thought to process though. You know most ex-cons would likely vote for a specific party that promises free shit to stupid people.

      1. You know most ex-cons would likely vote for a specific party that promises free shit to stupid people.

        If past performance is any indication* most ex-cons wouldn’t even register. In places where they do regain the right to vote, 40% registry is exceptionally high. Probably some things like generally anti-social behavior, getting locked in a cage, and otherwise ‘seeing some shit’ that make the popularity contest seem kinda irrelevant.

        *It isn’t.

        1. True. Also, who tracks these numbers down from the ex-con crowd? Ever wonder where these troves of numbers come from.

          Me thinks they come from the gov’t mill.

    2. You can get your rights back, it’s just not automatic.

  13. Apropos of this, I’ll let you real libertarians make a determination on this one:

    A 48-year-old White Center woman remains jailed after allegedly posting a video of a racist tirade on Facebook as she followed her neighbor in her car. Posting the video led to the woman being charged with a hate crime.

    In a video posted on Facebook, the narrator seems to grow angrier and angrier as she tails a woman in her car while railing against “Spanish privilege,” criticizing the woman’s driving as un-American and repeatedly saying that the woman and her family don’t belong here.

    “This is America. We don’t drive like that here. We don’t drive like you’re in Mexico, lady,” a female voice is heard saying on the video that is a critical piece of evidence in an unusual hate-crime case.

    As the driver in front makes her way to Rainier Prep Academy near White Center, the voice on the video continues: “This is my freakin’ neighborhood. This is where I grew up. I grew up here, not them. This woman don’t deserve to belong here, she don’t belong here. She don’t (expletive) belong here.”

    1. She got jailed for the video, not the stalking/harassment?

      1. Eh, it’s questionable:

        In the school parking lot, Jametski angrily confronted Dolores, all the while recording the interaction on her cellphone, according to the charges.

        […]

        But the rant took an even darker turn when she allegedly threatened to ram Dolores’ SUV, questioned her immigration status and made expletive-laced references to having her deported, charging papers say.

        this seems like it’s a threat. Certainly intimidation.

        But there are strange details:

        But the high bail was also warranted because Jamet?ski’s actions amounted to “an attack on the entire Latino community,” said Hogan, who has been prosecuting hate crimes for 30 years.

        this Jametski person sounds pretty awful.

        1. She’s lucky she didn’t get her ass whooped.

          1. That’s what she really needs. I severe beatdown.

        2. Assault

    2. As the driver in front makes her way to Rainier Prep Academy near White Center

      God, that sentence fragment is like something out of PG Wodehouse, if he wrote an anti-racism satire.

    3. my determination = she was harassing the woman, and maybe even reckless-driving or something (filming)… but fuck no, that’s not a hate-crime, and fuck the prosecutors who try and gin this sort of crime up just because they want to punish wrong-think.

  14. We need hate crime registries clearly. The fact that I can already run a criminal background check on someone if they want something from me isn’t good enough. Who cares if someone is a thief or a murderer. What you need to know is if he called some guy a homo when he was 15 years old.

  15. This is all because Shackleford’s social group’s protected status is on the decline and he can now find himself not the victim of a hate crime but the perpetrator of one. Mock my words, everyone! That’s what this is about.

  16. Minorities, Muslims, LGBTQ (Didn’t mean to leave any letters out) will be exempt from the list, of course.

  17. The Idea of a Hate Crimes Offender Registry Is Absurd

    Fixed for truth.

  18. I can honestly say I hate Mr. Bocanegra with the passion of a thousand suns.

    Register me.

  19. He has introduced AB 39, which has no actual content as yet.

    HATE CRIME!

  20. “It’s odd for a legislator to propose such a database given the criminal justice ‘ban the box’ push, encouraging employers wait until they’re offering somebody a job to check their criminal background.”

    Why do you expect that level of intellectual consistency? In New Jersey, our Legislature thinks nothing of passing a “ban the box” law on Tuesday and a law mandating criminal background checks on Wednesday. In fact, many of the same legislators who pushed the “ban the box” law “because everyone deserves a second chance” then demanded that the NFL ban Ray Rice for life because someone guilty of his crime “does not deserve to be professional athlete.”

    1. If we can’t punish the people and behaviors we don’t like, who can we punish?

  21. Bocanegra is engaging in a round of post-Donald-Trump-election legislation as social signaling that is bound to make life harder for a small class of criminals.

    Not sure they want to go down that path. I’ve been hearing a lot about how hate crimes are on the rise since Trump’s election and yet every single instance of “white Trump supporters” violently oppressing others because of race or religion has turned out to be a hoax, meanwhile the only actual “hate crimes” that have been substantiated are leftist minorities attacking white males. Now I’m sure they don’t worry about that because A) in their mind there’s no such thing as a “hate crime” that doesn’t feature a white perpetrator and B) even if they accept the possibility, they don’t think for a minute that their standards on what constitutes “hate crime” would be applied evenhandedly, which they consider just due to the historical legacy of what-the-fuck-ever.

  22. The prospect of a hate crime registry is especially disturbing considering that some people in California consider using presumptive pronouns to be a hate crime.

  23. Correction! I misread the stats. There are actually even fewer hate crime convictions in 2015 than understood. I’ve updated the post.

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