Articles Posted in Hate Crime

California Penal Code 422.55 PC defines hate crimes in the state of California. The purpose of this article is to explain the state’s hate crime law and the penalties for conviction. If you have been charged with a hate crime in California, contact an experienced California criminal defense attorney.

California Penal Code 422.55 PC Defines Hate Crimes in California

Under California Penal Code 422.55 PC, it is a hate crime to harm, threaten, or harass a person because of their disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.  Of course, it is already a crime to intentionally harm, threaten, or harass someone. In other words, you can already be charged and prosecuted for a crime even if hatred for disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation were not a motivating factor in the commission of the crime.  

The New York Times has reported that the U.S. Department of Justice will most likely file federal hate crime charges against Dylann Roof, the suspect of the shooting that occurred this week at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. Roof is currently facing nine counts of murder and may face the death penalty in South Carolina state court. However, the Department of Justice and the FBI have agreed that the shooting was racially motivated and that federal charges must also be brought.

FBI analysts have established with “a high degree of certainty” that Roof created a website where he posted a racist manifesto. It was established that the website was initially registered under his name, but that he removed his name and made the registration anonymous the next day.

Generally, when a case involves violations of both state and federal laws, federal charges are not brought. The case against Dylann Roof is unique because South Carolina does not have any law prohibiting hate or racially motivated crimes. The Department of Justice is choosing to step in here because if Roof faced only murder charges, the hate crime component would not be addressed. One Department of Justice Official said that “this directly fits the hate crime statute. This is exactly what it was created for.” The charges are not yet official, as many details of the case have yet to be resolved. Though the federal charges are not yet official, Roof has been assigned two federal public defenders, in addition to the state public defenders assigned to defend him on his pending state charges.

A tragic shootout occurred in St. Louis last week when two men opened fire at each other in public streets. During the shootout, which happened just outside of an apartment complex in the 1900 block of Hodiamont Avenue, 46 year old Juliette Cleveland-Davis was walking with her three grandchildren when one of the bullets struck her in the middle of her chest; rendering her dead at the scene. Her three grandchildren, ages 4, 5 and 7, were fortunately unharmed, but sadly had to watch their own grandmother succumb to the violence. The two men responsible for the exchange of bullets are Errick Owens and Tommy Dora Jr., both being held without bond while they await trial. Owens, 20, who lives on the 7400 block of San Diego avenue in North St. Louis county, was the first one captured and charged; murder and armed criminal action. The second man, Tommy Dora Jr., resides on the 5900 block of Ridge Avenue and was captured Saturday evening and charged with the same crimes. The two men are also suspected to have been firing at a third person who has yet to be identified by authorities.

“Second Man Charged in Shooting of St. Louis Grandmother” – Post-Dispatch

A neighbor called 911 after she heard the sounds of a dangerous altercation outside of the home of Graham Downes, a San Diego architect. When police arrived, they found a bloody scene of violence – Downes laying unresponsive on the ground with his assailant drunkenly resting on his dead body.

The attacker was Higinio Salgado, one of Downes’ employees. Earlier that evening, Downes and some of his employees met up at a bar – including Salgado – where trouble was already starting to brew. According to the others present at the bar, Salgado was beginning to become ‘loud’ and ‘obnoxious,’ even insulting one of the female employees with them. Somehow, the party continued on to Downes’ San Diego home. As told by one of the individuals present, an argument started when a man’s name, another employee not at the gathering, came up in conversation. Salgado began raging at his boss, expressing his discontent and hatred for the man mentioned, asserting that he “better not take his job.” The others present were able to diffuse the situation and change the subject, but stated that Salgado “couldn’t let it go.”

Later that night, when the women had gone home, Salgado continued yelling and soon became violent. He was heavily intoxicated and began beating on his boss, inflicting blunt force trauma up to 21 times. Salgado’s blood alcohol level was around 2.0 at the time of the incident, over twice the legal driving limit for the state of California.

in Poway, a city in San Diego County, four young latino adults or teenagers chased after two black brothers yelling racial slurs potentially committing a hate crime. The latinos chased the two brothers after they left an apartment complex and eventually smashed the black brothers’ car windows with one of them using a metal pipe.

The brothers were able to drive to another location where they called the police emergency line 911. The responding San Diego County sheriff deputies searched the location but were unable to locate the suspects. The investigation is ongoing and the police don’t believe the crime was gang related but was racially motivated.

POWAY: Attack investigated as hate crime, North County Times, July 2, 2009

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