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“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for October, 2010

ABC News: New Jersey Prosecuters Considering Hate Crime Charges

Jim Burroway

October 1st, 2010

ABC’s Good Morning America is reporting that New Jersey prosecutors investigating Tyler Clementi’s suicide are considering adding hate crime charges against Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei, who have been charged with violating Tyler’s privacy after livestreaming video of Tyler’s sexual encounter with another male without his knowledge.

According to ABC News, New Jersey’s state law against “bias intimidation” makes it a criminal offense to invade someone’s privacy because of sexual orientation. The word “because” may be the sticking point. The publicly released information available so far can easily point to this crime being motivated by other factors. Motivations of personal animus toward Tyler fit the evidence just as easily. So does the motivation to simply pull an idiotic and appalling “prank.”

Either way, invasions of privacy are felony offenses. While references to Tyler’s sexuality appear on tweets that Ravi posted to his Twitter account, none of them use anti-gay epithets or indicate overt hostility toward Tyler’s sexuality — at least what we know so far of Ravi’s postings so far. Demonstrating that Tyler was singled out specifically because of his sexuality in a court of law may prove difficult, unless prosecutors have found further evidence that they haven’t made public yet.

Homophobic slur originated in Chambliss’ office; individual as yet unidentified

Timothy Kincaid

September 22nd, 2010

Senator Saxby Chambliss has acknowledged that the slur/threat posted on JoeMyGod did originate from his office. The individual responsible has not yet been identified. (AJC)

“The [sergeant at arms] has worked side by side with our personnel to determine whether the comment in question emanated from our office. That appears to be the case,” an unsigned statement from Chambliss’ press office read.

“There has not been a determination as to who posted the comment,” the statement read. “That part of the review is ongoing, and is now in the hands of the Senate sergeant at arms.”

It is encouraging that Chambliss appears to be taking the situation seriously and has decided to involve the Senate Sergeant at Arms.

Free Speech for All, Or Just for NOM?

Rob Tisinai

September 16th, 2010

The National Organization for Marriage recently spread a warning that gays want to “discourage or criminalize the expression of certain Catholic beliefs as ‘hate speech.’”

It’s a favorite tactic of the far right in their war against hate crime laws and marriage equality — this fear that it could be soon be illegal to profess simple religious beliefs (about sinful and hellbound gays). They support this by citing cases from outside the US, conveniently ignoring America’s First Amendment.

Now, though, we have a chance to test NOM’s commitment to freedom of expression. The UK has banned an ad because it mocks Roman Catholic beliefs (the faith in which I was raised and the faith of many NOMmers, including Maggie herself). Will NOM speak out against this tyranny?

An ice cream company banned from using an advert displaying a pregnant nun has vowed to position similar posters in London in time for the Pope’s visit.

Antonio Federici’s advert showed a pregnant nun eating ice cream in a church, together with the strap line “immaculately conceived”.

The Advertising Standards Authority has ordered it to be discontinued, saying it mocked Roman Catholic beliefs.

As it happens, I oppose hate speech laws and have decried their use in other countries. My question is: Will NOM show the same consistency? Will they stand up for the right of people to say offensive things about gays and about Catholics (and about gay Catholics, for that matter)? Are they fighting for everyone’s freedom of speech and religion — or only freedom for anti-gays?

Inquiring minds want to know.

The banned ad

Two more (sultry) ads from the campaign below. Read the rest of this entry »

Tenn. Lesbian Couple’s Home Torched

Jim Burroway

September 12th, 2010

The home of Carol and Laura Stutte in Vonore, Tennessee was destroyed by a fire on Saturday, Sept 4, that investigators are now calling an act of arson. The couple had been harassed and threatened by one of their neighbors for the entire five years that they had lived in the home. An anti-gay slur was spray painted on their garage.

The fire occurred while the couple was away in Nashville with a neighbor, celebrating their fifth anniversary of moving into the home from Oklahoma. Carol’s adult daughter from a previous marriage were also with them in Nashville. Carol says that her partner is too afraid to come back to the property since the fire. The home and everything in it was a total loss.

Carol says that, despite the arson, she has been very appreciative of the support from people in the area who have offered to help. The Maryville chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays is taking donations of clothing and money for the Stutte family. They can be reached at 865-368-6665.

The Great American Breakdown

Jim Burroway

August 30th, 2010

Exhibit A:

A Nebraska man is jail after police believe he tried to spray mace on protestors outside the Omaha funeral of a Leesburg High graduate. George Vogel was arrested Saturday morning a few blocks away from the First United Methodist Church, the location of Staff Sergeant Michael Bock’s funeral.

Officers on duty for the funeral say Vogel drove up in his Ford F-150 pick-up truck and as he was passing by Westboro Baptist Church protestors he extended his arm out the truck’s window and sprayed a large amount of mace into the air from an industrial-sized container.

More than a dozen people were hit by the mace, including one police officer.

Exhibit B:

After a suspected arson and reports of gunshots at an Islamic center in Tennessee over the weekend, nearby mosques have hired security guards, installed surveillance cameras and requested the presence of federal agents at prayer services.

Muslim leaders in central Tennessee say that frightened worshipers are observing Ramadan in private and that some Muslim parents are wary of sending their children to school after a large fire on Saturday that destroyed property at the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. Federal authorities suspect that the fire was arson.

…The Murfreesboro center, which has existed for nearly 30 years, suddenly found itself on front pages of newspapers this month and on “The Daily Show.” It became a hot topic in the local Congressional race, with one Republican candidate accusing the center of fostering terrorism and trying to link it to the militant Palestinian group Hamas.

Exhibit C:

Salt Lake City Police are investigating an instance of vandalism at the Utah Pride Center. Friday morning, employees of the center and its onsite coffee shop, Cafe Marmalade, discovered an anti-gay slur painted on the marquee in front of the building.

“We realize that often times the purpose of these actions are to cause widespread fear among the members of our community,” Valerie Larabee, executive director of the Utah Pride Center, said in a statement. “That is why today we are speaking out. This will not be swept under the rug. We will not be scared into silence by acts of intolerance.”

Exhibit D:

When Rodolfo Olmedo was dragged down by a group of men shouting anti-Mexican epithets and bashed over the head with a wooden stick on the street outside his home, he instinctively covered his face to keep from getting disfigured. Blood filled his mouth.

“I wanted to scream, but I couldn’t because of the beating they were giving me,” said the 25-year-old baker. Nearly five months later, he is still taking pain medications for his head injuries.

Recorded by a store’s surveillance camera, the assault was the first of 11 suspected anti-Hispanic bias attacks in a Staten Island neighborhood, re-igniting years-old tensions between blacks and Hispanics in New York City’s most remote borough.

Residents of Port Richmond — where an influx of newcomers from Latin America over the past decade has transformed the community — alternately blame the attacks on the economy, unemployment and the debate over Arizona’s immigration law.

The 3 Facts You Should Know about Hate Crime Laws

Rob Tisinai

August 20th, 2010

Maggie Gallagher recently vented — dishonestly — in a column decrying Judge Walker’s “judicial tyranny,” quoting Rush Limbaugh:

Rush Limbaugh had his finger on the truth. In the nearly half-hour speech he gave after the Proposition 8 ruling (“the American people are boiling over!”), Rush said that Walker “did not just slap down the will of 7 million voters. Those 7 million voters were put on trial — a kangaroo court where everything was stacked against them. … Those of you who voted for Prop 8 in California are guilty of hate crimes. You were thinking discrimination. That’s what this judge has said! Truly unprecedented.”

Rush is completely wrong, but that doesn’t matter to the anti-gay echo chamber. He might just have veered into over-the-top hyperbole, but now Maggie is repeating the lie in print. It suits her purpose: the big new goal of the National Organization for Marriage is to paint anti-gays as victims of intolerant homosexuals who persecute good, sweet, gentle Christians. If that means telling lies about hate crimes, then so be it. Fortunately, you can refute this sort of paranoia with 3 simple facts.

The 3 Facts


1. Hate crime laws don’t make anything illegal.

Hate crime laws merely provide enhanced penalties for actions traditionally recognized as crimes, but motivated by bias. That’s all. Don’t believe me? Ask the FBI:

[H]ate crimes are not separate, distinct crimes; instead, they are traditional offenses motivated by the offender’s bias (for example, an offender assaults a victim because of a bias against the victim’s race).

In other words, if it wasn’t a crime before the hate crime law was passed, then it’s still not a crime afterward.

Do you know what people are doing when they claim American hate crime laws will criminalize the Bible or send pastors to jail for preaching homosexuality is a sin? They’re lying. Or, at the very least, speaking from ignorance. They may give you examples from Canada or Sweden or other countries that don’t have a First Amendment, but they don’t apply to the US.

2. Homosexuals don’t get special protection from hate crime legislation.

The Matthew Shepard Act added sexual orientation to the federal hate crimes statute. It doesn’t specify homo or hetero. If a gay man assaults a straight man out of hatred for straights, he can be charged with a hate crime.

Now at some point an anti-gay will protest, “But that STILL gives gays special treatment, because no one assaults straights for being straight!” I hope I’m there, because it’ll be fun to watch him realize what he just said and try to suck those words back into his lungs.

3. Christians are protected by hate crime legislation.

Actually, that’s true for people of all religions. Been true for decades. The religion protection is exactly the same as the sexual orientation protection (at the federal level at least; many states have protection for religion but not sexual orientation). So when pastors say they worry about being prosecuted under hate crime laws for saying homosexuality is a sin? If that were true, I could be prosecuted for saying that the bigotry of Pat Robertson or Jimmy Swaggart is a sin. But neither of those things will happen because hate crime laws don’t make anything illegal.

Using these facts


It’s amazing how much crap you can refute with just these 3 facts.

Example 1

After the Carrie Prejean/Perez Hilton rumble, a US senator or representative said something like this (if anyone can find a reference I’d much appreciate it): If Perez Hilton had marched on stage and ripped Carrie’s crown off her head, she could have been charged with a hate crime for stating her religious view, but Hilton would have been charged with nothing.

Wrong!

Hate crimes don’t make anything illegal. It’s never been illegal to state your religious views, and the Matthew Shepard Act doesn’t change that. Carrie could not have been charged.

Christians are protected by hate crime legislation. If Hilton assaulted Prejean for her religious views, he could be charged with a hate crime. Ripping a tiara off someone’s head counts as assault, so it’s already illegal regardless of hate crime legislation, and the anti-Christian bias would qualify it as a hate crime.

Example 2

Senator Jim DeMint spread this blatant untruth about the Matthew Shepard Act:

So if someone in effect were to hurt a homosexual, or maybe not hire one, that would become a hate crime, which is punished more than if you just hurt someone else.

Wrong!

Homosexuals don’t get special protection from hate crime legislation. A bias-motivated crime would be treated no differently if the victim were attacked for being gay than if he or she was attacked for being straight.

Christians are protected by hate crime legislation. Hate crime legislation has been around for decades and has never been used to prosecute discriminatory hiring, whether it based on the applicants’ religion, race, or national origin. The Matthew Shepard Act does nothing to change that. And even if it did, you could apply the law in exactly the same way against employers who refuse to hire Christians. In fact, though, this is just a made-up scare tactic, so it doesn’t matter anyway.

Example 3

Representative Jim Pence said this:

Individual pastors who wish to preach out of Romans Chapter 1 about what the Bible teaches about homosexual behavior, they could be charged or be subject to intimidation for simply expressing a Biblical world view on the issue of homosexual behavior.

Wrong!

Hate crime laws don’t make anything illegal. It’s never been illegal to state your religious views, and the Matthew Shepard Act doesn’t change that.

That’ll do it. There are a few other things you might want to remember, like our Constitution’s First Amendment, which sets us apart from other countries and limits our government’s ability to restrict free speech. Also, the fact that the Matthew Shepard Act does have explicit (redundant and unnecessary) free speech protections built into it. Mostly, though, the 3 facts above will help you shoot down our opponents’ lies.

Happy hunting.

A group of kids attack gay Atlanta pastor

Timothy Kincaid

July 6th, 2010

Joshua Noblitt and his partner were sitting on a blanket, playing cards, and finishing up a picnic in Piedmont Park when they were accosted by a group of young men. (cbsatlanta.com, video)

“They walked up to us and asked ‘are y’all gay? We ought to beat y’all for that’” said Noblitt.

Noblitt said that the youths walked off, but returned with a stick and demanded money.

The pastor said that he grabbed the stick from one of the attackers and a fight ensued. The young men then used a cell phone to make a call, and up to 10 others arrived and attacked Noblitt and his partner.

“They came out of nowhere,” said Noblitt.

One of the suspects pulled a handgun and held it to Noblitt’s head, then stole his wallet and cell phone, police said.

The police responded quickly and arrested six suspects. Five of them were minors.

A gay man was stabbed to death in the park last May.

Attacked for beliefs about gay equality

Timothy Kincaid

July 3rd, 2010

Anti-gay activists who wish to operate in the shadows and keep their identity secret sued to have the names listed on Washington’s Referndum 71. They claim that gay people are violent and it is dangerous and life-threatening to be publicly opposed to the rights of gay couples.

From last sunday’s article in the anti-gay (and often loony) World Net Daily:

“We’ve got affidavits from more than 60 people who were targeted, harassed. There are newspaper reports of more cases. This seems to be a concerted campaign … to attack and stifle the opposition through harassment”

The courts refused to toss out the state’s policy, but did tell the opponents of equality that if they liked they could go to court with evidence of significant threat if they like.

So they will go to the lower court to try and argue that the gays are frightening and that decent God-fearing people tremble in their sensible shoes when the see one. Gays will hurt you, and they have examples!!

When the fight over marriage was raging in California, WND reported an angry mob of homosexual activists attacked an elderly bespectacled woman carrying a cross, then shouted her down during a live TV interview.

“We should fight! We should fight!” screamed one protester as the woman, identified as Phyllis Burgess, stood calmly with a reporter waiting to be interviewed.

When she came out to the gay crowd protesting Prop 8 and tried to counter-protest, they shouted her down!! And she was bespectacled!!

And there were people on-line who made outrageous statements! like, “Can someone in CA please go burn down the Mormon temples there, PLEASE. I mean seriously. DO IT”.

Can you believe it? Someone saying something outrageous in an online comment thead?

Meanwhile, there’s a news report out of Anchorage today (AP):

Anchorage authorities say they’re investigating the cause of a fire that destroyed a gay pride float intended for a 4th of July parade.

KTUU-TV reports that witnesses told investigators that moments before the fire began Friday morning they saw someone running from the driveway where the float was being constructed.

The Imperial Court of All Alaska is going to try and put something together and particate in tomorrow’s parade. I think they should just roll the charred mess down the street with a banner about the real threat that gay people face daily. And it isn’t a threat to our styrofoam cross.

Ken Hutcherson has blood on his hands

Timothy Kincaid

June 7th, 2010

bullhorn.jpg

Conservative Christians are often infuriated by discussions which link their anti-gay activism to violence against actual gay people. They will angrily say that they oppose violence and they love the sinner. That Christians are not the ones going around attacking gay people.

But the truth is plain. Cultivate a culture of condemnation and you will soon see hostility. Oppose tolerance and you’ll get intolerance. Dehumanize gay people and soon you’ll find that there are those willing to treat gay people as something other than human.

And a clear example is evident in Washington.

For years, Ken Hutcherson, pastor of Antioch Bible Church in Redmond, WA, has been fighting to make Mt. Si High School a miserable place for gay students. He’s tried to get teachers fired for challenging him on gay issues and threatened to put another on his list. He’s sent his daughter to monitor Gay-Straight-Alliance meetings. He’s preached that God hates effeminate men and “joked” about beating them. He’s spread the message that the Bible opposes tolerance.

Unable to stop the event, in 2008, Hutcherson took his bullhorn and staged a protest on the Day of Silence across the street from Mt. Si. About 600 of the 1,400 students stayed home that day.

Then this happened:

Johnson said her son appointed himself the protector of a new friend who was being intimidated and followed by a group of boys in the hallways at school. She said the taunts included anti-gay slurs. One night, Johnson said, she found her son texting the other boy, “Just stay by me.”

On Friday, Nov. 6, shortly after noon, the two 14-year-olds came into the locker room to change after PE class. Johnson said the freshman who allegedly led the harassment started taunting the one boy about his presumed sexual orientation.

When Johnson’s son swore and told him to leave his friend alone, a 16-year-old junior stepped into the dispute. He struck Johnson’s son twice in the face, lifted him off a bench, kneed him in the face and, when he fell to the ground, kicked him, according to witness statements to the police. A school-surveillance camera caught the 16-year-old leaving the locker room, shaking his hand as if in pain, said Johnson, who has watched the tape.

Johnson was summoned to the school by a frantic call from her son. When she arrived about 1 p.m., she said her son was bleeding from the eye and nose and was nearly “unrecognizable” on the left side of his face. She assumed that an aid car had been called, but one wasn’t summoned until 1:16 p.m., according to police records.

She also learned that a vice principal had asked the boy to go back to the locker room and search for his missing tooth.

The assault broke his eye socket, two teeth and left him with a concussion. The picked on kid’s conclusion? “I think a lot of people don’t like gays.”

Things like this happen most often when society gives its permission. When preachers and parents and teachers and administrators make it clear that small awkward less-masculine boys are sinful threatening menaces to the community with an evil homosexual agenda. And one man is more responsible for that message at Mt. Si High School than any other.

Am I taking it too far to say that Ken Hutcherson owns some responsibility for this kid’s assault, that he has blood on his hands? No.

The seeds of hatred that blossomed into this violent attack were sown by Rev. Ken Hutcherson. Sown, watered, tended and nourished.

OK Lawmakers Target Gays, Misfire

Jim Burroway

March 26th, 2010

Oklahoma lawmakers are incensed that the Federal Hate Crimes Law signed by President Obama last October extends protections based on sexual orientation. So they decided to do something about it. The Oklahoma Senate passed a bill prohibiting local and state law enforcement agencies from sharing information about hate crimes with federal authorities.

But now lawmakers have found a “legislative error,” resulting in the bill limiting enforcement of the Federal Hate Crimes Law in cases involving race and religion, not sexual orientation.

The bill began life as an education bill before State Sen. Steve Russell (R-Oklahoma City) offered an amendment on the Senate floor to gut the original bill and replace it with his legislation. It passed the Senate by a vote of 39-6 and is now under consideration in the House. The lone House sponsor withdrew her name upon learning of the wholesale change undertaken by the Senate. But I’m sure someone in Oklahoma will step up and restore the race and religion protections. After all, we can’t expect Christians to give up their special protections, can’t we?

Police deliberately destroy lesbian’s military career out of spite

Timothy Kincaid

March 15th, 2010

Sometimes I get so angry that it is hard to type. Now is one of those times.

Sgt. Jene Newsome is a lesbian who played the Military’s don’t ask, don’t tell game. She kept her private life private and did not tell her employer that she’s gay. She did, however, enter a relationship with another woman and married her. And the woman she married had a problem with the law.

And when the police came knocking for her wife, Newsome wasn’t home. (AP)

Newsome was at work at the base at the time and refused to immediately come home and assist the officers in finding her partner, whom she married in Iowa — where gay marriage is legal — in October.

Well, now, wait a minute. They are the police. And in Rapid City that means that all you non-officer scum jump when they yell “frog”. Ya know, to protect a serve and all that.

And since Newsome didn’t jump high enough, they decided that they would choose to destroy her life.
allender

Police officers, who said they spotted the marriage license on the kitchen table through a window of Newsome’s home, alerted the base, police Chief Steve Allender said in a statement sent to the AP.

Newsome was discharged under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t annoy the local police in any way.

Oh, but they have their reasons. Yesirreee.

As you read the following, remember that Newsome’s only crime was “not being cooperative”. That is her only connection to “the case”. She was not involved in the theft, and the Air Force was only tangential.

The license was relevant to the investigation because it showed both the relationship and residency of the two women, he said.

“It’s an emotional issue and it’s unfortunate that Newsome lost her job, but I disagree with the notion that our department might be expected to ignore the license, or not document the license, or withhold it from the Air Force once we did know about it,” Allender said Saturday. “It was a part of the case, part of the report and the Air Force was privileged to the information.”

Now ask yourself if that makes any sense whatsoever. Would a straight couple’s marriage license require “alerting the base” about the sexual orientation of a heterosexual? Or is police Chief Steve Allender just trying to justify an act that is based in the most vile of bigotries, callousness, and abuse of power?

You bet it’s an emotional issue, Mr. Allender. Because you decided to destroy someone’s life. And that makes me emotional.

But I guess you showed us, didn’t you, Mr. Allender. We all better jump next time you say “frog”.

Vandalized LGBT Center Vows To Keep Anti-Gay Graffiti

Jim Burroway

March 2nd, 2010

UC Davis GraffitiA vandalized LGBT center at the University of California at Davis has vowed to keep the graffiti as reminder that as a reminder that intolerance still exists.

The anti-gay vandalism follows other anti-Semitic and racially-motivated hate incidents on campus. A Jewish student found a swastika carved into her dorm room door late last week, and several racially-charged incidents were prompted by an off-campus party that mocked African-Americans with urban stereotypes.

UC Davis officials are planning a town hall meeting in response to the events.

Michigan Christians sue because the Matthew Shepherd Act restricts their rights. They must want to violently attack gay people

Timothy Kincaid

February 5th, 2010

Hate crimes, as defined by Federal law, are violent crimes that are motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. The Matthew Shepard Act is very clear that it relates to violent crimes, not to preaching:

(3) CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTIONS- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to prohibit any constitutionally protected speech, expressive conduct or activities (regardless of whether compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief), including the exercise of religion protected by the First Amendment and peaceful picketing or demonstration. The Constitution does not protect speech, conduct or activities consisting of planning for, conspiring to commit, or committing an act of violence.

(4) FREE EXPRESSION- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to allow prosecution based solely upon an individual’s expression of racial, religious, political, or other beliefs or solely upon an individual’s membership in a group advocating or espousing such beliefs.

However, the Thomas Moor Law Group has filed a lawsuit on the behalf of some “Christians” who feel that this law restricts them from observing their faith. (Christian Post)

Four Christians on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit challenging the recently enacted Hate Crimes Prevention Act, arguing that it seeks to criminalize deeply held religious beliefs that are in opposition to homosexuality.

The 27-page long complaint was submitted by the Thomas More Law Center on behalf of Gary Glenn of the American Family Association of Michigan and Pastors Levon Yuille, James Combs, and Rene B. Ouellette, who are also based in Michigan. It names U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., as the defendant.

We must assume that the Thomas More Law Center has read the law. And because the law has no effect on their rights to belief or expression of belief, the only logical conclusion is that these four Christians wish to plan for, conspire to commit, or commit an act of violence.

Or, perhaps, this is just another example of folks who think that because “homosexual acts, according to Scripture, are acts of grave depravity that are intrinsically disordered and are contrary to the natural law” then their religion trumps civil law.

Sometimes I can’t figure out if they are arrogant and opposed the basic principles of civil liberties and equality or if they really truly wish they were free to beat us in the streets.

Miami Beach Police harrass gay witness to their brutality

Timothy Kincaid

February 3rd, 2010

Miami Beach Officers Frankly Forte and Elliot Hazzi were going about their business of kicking an unarmed man in the head when they realized that they were being observed. By a gay man, of all people.

So they approached Harold Strickland, pushed him to the ground, tied his hands behind his back and screamed homophobic slurs at him. They said they were sick of the f**ing f**gots in the neighborhood so they decided to arrest him for “attempting to break into cars”.

Unfortunately for Forte and Hazzi, Strickland was on the phone with a 911 operator reporting the beating he was witnessing when they decided that he would be target number two. And the tape of the call corroborates Strickland’s call up until the point where the officers demanded to know who he was and what he was doing there. At the time they “observed him” breaking the law, he was face down in their custody being subjected to police brutality.

The officers are still on duty.

Let me repeat, the officers are still on duty. And I can’t help but wonder why the 911 call did not immediately generate a top level investigation. Were I on a jury, the lack of concern on the part of the city would weigh heavily on my determining of just how much to award Mr. Strickland.

It’s no wonder that the gay community is fleeing Miami Beach. They have decided that they’d rather have thugs and monsters than “f**ing f**gots” for. I wonder how that’s working out for them.

Sentence for hate crime: one year

Timothy Kincaid

December 14th, 2009

On Aug. 9, 2008, Carlos Lopez was enjoying an outing at Ensign Park in Utah when Fa MoiMoi approached him and asked Lopez to take his picture. MoiMoi then asked Lopez, 18, if he was gay. When he didn’t respond, MoiMoi began punching him.

MoiMoi, along with several of his friends, beat Lopez, his sister, and his aunt. Carlos Lopez suffered severe head trauma, including an broken orbital bone, and required major reconstructive surgery.

Fortunately, the picture provided evidence and police were able to identify the primary attacker. But by then MoiMoi had fled to Hawaii. In February he was arrested and brought back to Utah where he faced two charges of aggravated assault, one of which was enhanced to a first-degree felony because it was a hate crime.

On Friday he received his sentence (SL Tribune)

[MoiMoi] was charged with one count of first-degree felony aggravated assault and two counts of class A misdemeanor assault. On Friday, he pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree felony aggravated assault and the other charges were dismissed.

In addition to jail time, MoiMoi must complete 200 hours of community service, write a letter of apology to the victims, obtain his high school diploma and pay medical restitution of more than $36,500.

I don’t wish to overreact.

I know that a plea deal is quite useful when a district attorney is uncertain that evidence can conclusively place a perpetrator at the scene or when there are no witnesses. But this hardly seems to be a difficult case to prosecute.

I can sympathize when a situation gets out of hand and a punch gets thrown. But this was a gang of men attacking two women and a boy resulting in reconstructive surgery on his face.

One count.

Third degree.

One year.

I just can’t help but wonder if Lopez had been sent to the hospital in Utah with his facial bones broken because he was Mormon whether perhaps, just perhaps, the crime might have been taken more seriously.

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