SACRAMENTO, Calif. — On Tuesday, March 21, Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley) introduced AB 1064. This bill will allow for the introduction of evidence related to bias motivation into trials and further protect victims of hate crimes.
The current criminal law is weak according to Assemblymember Low. While the current law allows for the prosecution of people who clearly state their intent is to target an individual of a protected class, it is weak when it comes to an individual who is deliberately targeting individuals.
Recently in Santa Clara County, there was a case where an individual targeted visibly traditional Southeast Asian women (see photos 1 and 2) for violent robberies over and over, but the current law makes it hard to hold him accountable for anything except for traditional robbery, Santa Clara County Chief Assistant District Attorney Jay Boyarsky explained.
“We can’t allow criminals to deliberately target people and then have them face no repercussions for their hateful actions,” Assemblymember Low said.
Statistically, hate crimes are on the rise in California. According to the recent hate crime in California report:
- Hate crimes increased 32.6% from 2020 to 2021.
- Hate crimes targeting Black persons increased 12.5% from 2020 to 2021.
- Hate crime targeting Asian-American groups increased 177.5% from 2020 to 2021.
- Hate crimes involving a sexual orientation bias increased 47.8% from 2020 to 2021.
The proposed amendment to the current law will allow prosecutors to introduce evidence relating to biases against protected groups. A “bias against” means a negative attitude toward actual or perceived characteristics of the victim listed in the definition of “hate crime” in subdivision (a) of Section 422.56. Depending on the circumstances of each case, evidence of bias motivation may be include, but is not limited to, hatred, animosity, resentment, revulsion, contempt, unreasonable fear, paranoia, callousness, thrill-seeking, desire for social dominance, desire for social bonding with those of one’s “own kind,” or a perception of the vulnerability of the victim due to the victim being perceived as being weak, worthless, fair game, or the selective targeting of victims because of an actual or perceived characteristic of the victim.
Editors Note – Recent Hate Crime Arrests
- Palo Alto Police Arrest Walnut Creek Man for Hate Crime and Other Charges
- Man Charged on Hate Crime After Racist Rant Caught on Video in San Ramon
- FBI Releases 2021 Hate Crime Statistics
- Update: Suspect Identified in El Cerrito Hate Crime Incident
What should be criminalized is the ACT, not the motivation. Once the individual is found guilty of the criminal act, then and only then is it appropriate to consider “hate” circumstances in sentencing.
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