In Aftermath Of Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting, States Review Hate-Crime Laws


The suspect behind the shooting deaths of 11 Jewish worshippers on Saturday morning at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh was charged on Wednesday in a 44-count indictment that accuses the 46-year-old of federal hate crimes.

A total of 45 states also have such measures, enabling tougher punishments against perpetrators.

Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Wyoming do not have hate-crime laws (Georgia’s hate-crime statute was struck down by the state’s Supreme Court in 2004).

In Indiana, Gov. Mitch Holcomb has asked lawmakers to pass a hate-crime law. A bill to do that died earlier this year after Republicans refused to vote on it in committee. The measure would have allowed judges to give harsher sentences for crimes motivated by religion, race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and other factors.

In August, an Indiana synagogue was spray-painted with a large Nazi flag and Nazi iron crosses.

Since the shooting, calls have come nationwide for toughening hate-crime statutes.

In Kentucky, for example, two state lawmakers proposed legislation on Wednesday that would add homicide to the state’s existing hate-crime law.




  1. Hate crime laws are a dangerous precedent. In This case it seems quite the overkill since it is definitely a “premeditated act” and qualifies for first degree murder. These multitude of charges just allows more lawyers to be on the payroll. Will he incur the death penalty more than once.

    Once hate crimes are enacted it will escala

  2. How idiotic. First degree murder already has the highest punishment available in penal code. How would adding additional charges serve as any kind of additional deterrent?! Reminds of hilarious moment in The Good The Bad And The Ugly: as a guy is being publicly hanged in the Wild West, they read a long list of heinous crimes, and then at the end they add “he also cheated at cards”.

    • Not exactly idiotic. Firstly, this murderer aside, when the crime does not involve the victim’s death, but is a “simple” punch in the face, a’la Crown Heights incidents, adding the Hate Crime element ensures a far harsher punishment for the perpetrator. Secondly, Violation Of Civil Rights based on definition of hate crimes is a federal offense, when even if the state court acquits the murderer (recall Lemrick Nelson), the federal government steps in, and slaps 10 years.

      • Marc, you are missing one crucial ingredient: we live in a double standard judicial system, and (unlike blacks, perverts and mooslims) Jews almost never benefit from hate crime laws. Besides, they overturned Lemrick Nelson’s(yimach shemo) civil rights conviction, if my memory serves me correctly. It is also worthy to mention that the article, on which my original comment was made, is talking specifically about Pittsburgh shooting – hence the idiotic redundancy.

  3. How does one differentiate between a hate crime and a love crime? OJ Simpson once mentioned that if he indeed somehow murdered his ex wife, it was done out of love. So I guess we have to always ask the killers what was their true emotions as they were hacking their victim to pieces.


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