Hate crimes

L.A.'s Reformist D.A. Promised To Eliminate Hate Crime Enhancements—Until Progressive Activists Gave Him a Call

Some progressives are for criminal justice reform only when it's convenient.

|

Newly minted Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón isn't making many friends in L.A. The reformist prosecutor came into office promising to stop prosecuting low-level misdemeanors, to end cash bail, to cease using the death penalty, and to eliminate sentencing enhancements.

To no one's surprise, that to-do list drew conservatives' ire. But the last item on the list also angered some progressives, because it included a pledge to stop upping punishments for alleged hate crimes.

That objection has carried the day. After chatting with some LGBT activists on December 17, the new D.A. announced he would "enable enhancements to be brought in a limited range of circumstances," even as he simultaneously acknowledged that "enhancements have never been shown" to effectively increase safety. In other words, sentencing enhancements will generally be off the table, except when it comes to crimes that the government has deemed particularly hateful.

The irony there is rich. It is progressives who have made criminal justice one of their primary goals, seeking to curtail the carceral state. The U.S. locks people up at higher rates than any other nation in the world, they say, and the system discriminates against people of color. On both points, they are correct.

But when it comes to those who are accused of acting with a particular sort of hate, progressive reformists often pivot to a new target, and that target is the very sort of change they would fight for in virtually any other circumstance.

Calls for criminal justice reform have intensified since the May death of George Floyd, but hate-crime enhancements have historically been immune to such debates. Indeed, some officials have even invoked those calls for reform when handing out enhanced sentences. Two people in Martinez, California, for example, face hate crime charges for painting over a Black Lives Matter street mural in July; Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton explained her decision by calling Black Lives Matter "an important civil rights cause that deserves all of our attention."

Therein encapsulates the problem with hate crimes. An offense, no matter how petty, can receive a more punitive punishment—the exact thing reformers say they oppose—based entirely on subjective ideology. Which ideologies get penalized depends on which ideologies are in power: In a Republican-led effort, the Alabama House this year voted to add police officers to the list of protected classes under hate crime legislation.

"What we probably should have calibrated better is sort of how deeply [the new directive] would be felt by our supporters, by our allies, our [prosecutors]," Joseph Iniguez, the interim chief deputy D.A., told Los Angeles Magazine. "And it wasn't that we didn't think about the community—but we were trying to approach it from a place of, 'Let's just not use this tool because for the most part, the way it's used is disproportionate against people of color.'"

According to the most recent data from the FBI, at least 24 percent of the country's hate crime offenders are black. Since blacks make up 13 percent of the population, such enhancements are, in fact, used disproportionately against people of color. But even if they weren't, you aren't really taking a stance against mass incarceration if you only oppose it for certain races. And you certainly aren't taking a stance against mass incarceration if you get more carceral for certain crimes.

Gascón's "whole goal was to end mass incarceration," Iniguez said. "It still is, by the way." Is it?

NEXT: Victim-Blaming During a Pandemic Doesn't Make People Safer

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Yeah it`s Possible…Anybody can earn 250$+ daily… You can earn from 6000-12000 a month or even more if you work as a full time job…It’s easy, just follow instructions on this page, read it carefully from start to finish… It’s a flexible job but a good
    eaning opportunity.. Here is More information.

    1. NIIIIGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGER!

      ALL YALL RACIST ASSHOLES. A VOTE FOR BIDEN IS A VOTE FOR EQUITY. IF YOU DON’T SUPPORT EQUITY, YOU RACIST.

      Suck a huge black cock.

      ……..…. ▄▄ ▄▄
      ….……▄▌██▀███▐▄
      ..…. ▐▒████████▌
      ..… ▐▒██████████▌
      ..….▐▒▀███████▀▀▌
      ..….▐▀▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▀▌
      ..….▐███████████▌
      ..….▐░██████████▌
      ..….▐░██████████▌
      ..….▐░██████████▌
      ..….▐░██████████▌
      ..….▐░██████████▌
      ..….▐░██████████▌
      ..….▐░██████████▌
      ..….▐░██████████▌
      ..….▐░██████████▌
      ..….▐░██████████▌
      ..…▄█▓███████████▄
      ..▄▀░█████████████▀▄
      .▐░█████▀▄▒▄▀░█████▌
      ▐░████████▐▒████████▌
      ▐▒████████▐▒████████▌
      .▀▄█████▄▀█▀▄▒████▄▀
      ….. ▀▀▀▀▀…..▀▀▀▀▀

      1. [ PART TIME JOB FOR USA ] Making money online more than 15$ just by doing simple work from home. I have received $18576 last month. Its an easy and simple job to du and its earning are much better than regular office job and even a little child can do this and earns money. Everybody must try this job by just use the info
        on this page…..work92/7 online

    2. Gascon still refuses to seek the sentencing enhancements that actually make sense — for repeat offenders — even as he persists in seeking stupid “hate”-based enhancements.

      Gascón is banning prosecutors in Los Angeles County from seeking the sentencing enhancements approved by California voters in Proposition 8. That ballot initiative increased penalties for repeat offenders who commit willful homicide, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault with a firearm.

      Crime in California fell due to Proposition 8, which mandated longer sentences for repeat offenders who kill, rape, and rob others. A National Bureau of Economic Research study found those longer sentences deterred many crimes from being committed. As it observed, three years after Proposition 8 was adopted, crimes punished with enhanced sentences had “fallen roughly 20-40 percent compared to” crimes not covered by enhanced sentences. Sentencing enhancements for repeat offenders prevented crime through deterrence, not just incapacitation.

      1. …but is he, uh, “violating” any “norms”? If not, Reason is OK with it.

        1. I am made $84, 8254 so far this year working online and I’m a full time student. I am using an online business. Here what I do,. for more information……… USA ONLINE JOBS

    3. I am now making extra $19k or more every month from home by doing very simple and easy work online from home. I have received exactly $20845 last month from this home job. Join now this job and start making extra cash online by follow instruction on the given website……… Visit Here

    4. Making money online more than 15$ just by doing simple works from home. I have received $18376 last month. Its an easy and simple job to do and its LOB earnings are much better than regular office job and even a little child can do this and earns money. Everybody must try this job by just use the info
      on this page…. Visit Here

  2. Thus is what your “equity” looks like Bidemented followers.

    1. Yes, “equity” is ass-backwards. Gascon will still prosecute people over bogus “hate” sentencing enhancements (including minorities). But he isn’t going to use the sentencing enhancements that do the most to reduce violence in the minority community: the sentencing enhancements for repeat offenders (killers, rapists, and robbers) contained in Proposition 8. Killers overwhelmingly kill members of their own race: Nine in ten black murder victims is killed by a black offender. Most violent crime is intra-racial, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Most rapists rape another person of the same race.

      Gascón is banning his prosecutors from seeking the sentencing enhancements mandated by California law in Prop. 8. That referendum raised the penalties for repeat offenders who perpetrate willful homicide, forcible rape, or robbery.

      Violent crime in California fell as a result of Prop. 8, which provided for longer prison terms for repeat offenders who commit certain serious crimes. A National Bureau of Economic Research study found those longer sentences deterred many violent crimes from being committed: 3 years after Prop. 8, the crime rate for covered crimes fell “20-40” % compared to other crimes.

  3. STAY HOME AND STARTING WORK AT HOME EASILY… I am making 70 to 60 dollar par hour at home on laptop ,, This is make happy But now i am Working 4 hour Dailly and make 400 dollar Easily .. This is enough for me to happy my family..how ?? i am making this so u can do it Easily…

    ==========►USA ONLINE JOBS

  4. How long before having a low enough social credit score is considered a de facto hate crime?

    1. Already being proposed in the UK. We are not far off.

  5. No, they are *all* for criminal justice reform.

    Just that some of them want to reform it to make it worse.

  6. , such enhancements are, in fact, used disproportionately against people of color.

    Would that not entirely depend on what you mean by proportion?

  7. Where I live a hate crime means you said a bad word while committing another crime. With my attitude I’m guessing they won’t let me onto the jury for a hate crime case.

    I wish we could fix the law rather than trust prosecutors to apply it the way we want. Yes, I am “soft on crime.” Mostly.

    1. Where I live, I think opposing affirmative action, opposing gay marriage, opposing abortion, and opposing immigration are all considered hate crimes by seven out of twelve jurors.

  8. There isn’t anything progressive about opposing hate crime enhancements, and anyone who imagines otherwise is delusional.

    1. Apart from the MOTIVATION but hey you’re fucking stupid so don’t let me interrupt.

      1. What are you talking about?!

        Progressivism is about using the coercive power of government to force individuals to make sacrifices for the common good (as they see it), and there isn’t any place in that system that objects to punishing individuals for their “motivations” in the name of the greater good. In fact, that’s in perfect harmony with progressivism–and it remains so regardless of whether I’m fucking stupid.

        Those who want to imagine that progressivism is somehow compatible with the honest liberalism of decades ago are just fooling themselves with wishful thinking. Punishing people for what they think and how they feel isn’t an unfortunate side effect of this progressive policy.

        It’s the point.

  9. “According to the most recent data from the FBI, at least 24 percent of the country’s hate crime offenders are black. Since blacks make up 13 percent of the population, such enhancements are, in fact, used disproportionately against people of color.”

    OR – – – –
    people of color are twice as racist.

    1. Black people can’t be racist, haven’t you heard? Nick cannon, and deshaun Jackson arent racist at all, what they said would only be racist if a whiter person said it

  10. “L.A.’s Reformist D.A. Promised…”

    You had me until you got to “reformist”. You should know by now that L.A. and reform never belong in the same sentence.

    Of course by the time I got to “D.A. Promised” I realized it was either a comedy piece or at least a parody of reality and I didn’t have to read any further. Damn, you folks are funny.

  11. But when it comes to those who are accused of acting with a particular sort of hate, progressive reformists often pivot to a new target, and that target is the very sort of change they would fight for in virtually any other circumstance.

    Yes, a *particular* sort of hate. “Equal treatment under the law” means that unequal treatment must be applied based on certain factors of one’s background. Orwell could have told you that.

  12. “It is progressives who have made criminal justice one of their primary goals, seeking to curtail the carceral state.”

    It should be noted that sentencing reform in California isn’t being driven by BLM or progressive concerns about anything.

    California has been under court order to reduce its prison population for more than a decade. The prisons were so overcrowded that federal courts ruled that the state of California was effectively violating their prisoners’ right to be free from cruel and unusual punishments. They were releasing people convicted of sexual assault, wife batterers, etc.

    https://www.propublica.org/article/guide-to-california-prisons

    A federal court ordered California to release 40,000 inmates, and the U.S. Supreme Court ordered them to release 30,000. California has an outrageous amount of unfunded pension obligations, and plenty of money to build a high speed train from nowhere to nowhere. They also have so much revenue that they were willing to institute some of the most restrictive lock down orders in the country and keep them in place longer than other states–despite the devastating impact that had on sales tax, property tax, corporate taxes, and income taxes. They have so much money they can do all of that!

    They just don’t have enough money to keep violent criminals in prison.

    When Jerry Brown tried to transfer tens of thousands of the state’s prisoners to county and local jails, the courts intervened again because the local jails were so overcrowded. And LA County is notoriously awful. Plenty of people were pleading guilty in LA County just so they could get out of the county jail and into the state penitentiary. It’s a standard refrain, people would rather do three years in the state pen than three months in the LA County jail.

    This is the background against which this criminal justice reform is being cast. When the government is so incompetent that they can’t even house violent offenders, so they’re forced to release them buy the courts, don’t believe them when they tell you it’s about criminal justice reform. If they sank an appropriate amount of money on keeping violent offenders locked up, instead of funding outrageous pension benefits for their state employees, there wouldn’t be any “criminal justice reform”.

  13. “…you aren’t really taking a stance against mass incarceration if you only oppose it for certain races. And you certainly aren’t taking a stance against mass incarceration if you get more carceral for certain crimes.”

    You are are attempting to use logic and consistency to argue against a political movement which has explicitly rejected logic. They are for a more equitable distribution of results, by their definitions, not equal treatment under law or even justice. They are driven by revenge. They say this explicitly every so often, why have you not taken them seriously, Mr. Binion?

  14. Like all religious states, the worst crimes are those against official ideology. Steal something or murder someone and get flogged. Speak against the Revealed Word and get burned at the stake.

  15. Social ‘justice’ is injustice, not about fairness, or equal status, but revenge for perceived slights. It is the stomping grounds of the irrational, the emotional, the resentful.

    1. The SJWs consider themselves at war. Waging war and destruction on their targets bring them no remorse, because they picture themselves as heroic, and their victims as deserving of destruction and damage. (The neo-progressive intellectual class keeps reinforcing that view.) Decriminalization of crimes such as rape and assault — with the help of DAs like Gascon who have agenda that works against rather than for crime victims — fits in with their agenda since they realize they have an over-representation of sexual assailants in their midst — some of their best street fighters, right?.

  16. “What we probably should have calibrated better is sort of how deeply [the new directive] would be felt by our supporters, by our allies, our [prosecutors],” Joseph Iniguez, the interim chief deputy D.A., told Los Angeles Magazine.

    They think they have to continually pander to “progressive causes” to remain in power, but they don’t have real time access to the continuously changing hierarchy of “progressive causes”.

    If you’re going to have zero principles and rely on focus groups to determine your policies, those focus groups better be running 24/7.

  17. The Canadian Supreme Court has ruled that truth can be hate speech, illegal. So much for the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    “In a statement that has practically received universal condemnation from both left and right, the Supreme Court Judge Rothstein wrote that “truthful statements can be presented in a manner that would meet the definition of hate speech, and not all truthful statements must be free from restriction.”“

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/whatcott-supreme-court-labelled-truth-hate-speech-in-homosexuality-case

    The cancel culture at the highest level.

    How can anyone rationally address anything if telling the truth about it is illegal?

    Censoring truth is a crime against humanity.

    Every living thing on earth evolves by recognizing reality and modifying their behaviour to work with it.

    Truth is reality. Any censorship of it, even inadvertently, inhibits our ability to evolve.

    Are you just going to let them do that to you?

    1. Wow! What’s next, ban the Bible?
      Glad I don’t live in Canada…

    2. “truthful statements can be presented in a manner that would meet the definition of hate speech”

      That means they can also be presented in a manner that does not meet the definition of hate speech. I’m just guessing that if you say, “The sky is blue,” that’s truthful and not hate speech, while if you say, “The sky is blue, you asshole,” that’s hate speech. Am I close?

      1. Not even.

    3. Attorney Giuliani to the rescue: “Truth isn’t truth.”

      Telling the truth in court gets the defendant the more lenient sentence.

      Those were Canadian courts. Justice were chilling!

  18. “the May death of George Floyd”

    Surely you mean the murder of George Floyd by racist cops?

    Or have you come around the the realization that the jury is (almost literally) still out on that one?

  19. Stories like this make me wonder: Why are they called “Progressives?” By all appearances, they want to regress back to a time when “tribe” and “blood” were everything, when words were thought to have magical powers, and grow-assed men duelled in the streets over insults and gash.

    Oh, and between their anti-gun sentiment and their desire to abolish police, they also want to return to a Mideaval time when the physically strongest ruled all and the physically weaker, the infirm, the very old, the very young, and any numerical minority had no chance. Classy!

    /sarc

  20. “The U.S. locks people up at higher rates than any other nation in the world, they say, and the system discriminates against people of color. On both points, they are correct.”

    Except, they aren’t. The USA does incarcerate far too many people, and a disproportionate number of them are black but that does NOT mean that the system discriminates by race. That is an all-too-common fallacious claim that I cannot accept. Do better.

  21. I am loving no cash bail and not prosecuting theft under a certain amount.
    That is a system guaranteed to produce more crime.
    I also like gun control and not issuing concealed carry permits.
    So the citizens can’t defend themselves.
    We can expect President Harris to bring this to the rest of the country.

  22. You know if everyone just had ankle monitors and had to ask if they could leave (for approved reasons like food) we’d have a lot less problems with hate.

    When will a politician who truly cares about his constituents step up and house arrest us all?

    1. January 20, 2021

  23. I, of course, thought that incompetents were supposed to be at the bottom of the ranking system by watching ślapstick comedy.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.