This week on the Writer's Detective Bureau: hate crimes, proactive investigations, and island time of death. I'm Adam Richardson and this is the Writer's Detective Bureau.
Welcome to episode 67 of the Writer's Detective Bureau, the podcast dedicated to helping authors and screenwriters write professional quality crime-related fiction. And this week I'm answering your questions about what constitutes a hate crime. How do you search warrants in a proactive investigation where a crime hasn't occurred yet, and death investigations in paradise.
But before we get into that, as always, I need to thank Gold Shield patrons, Debra Dunbar from debradunbar.com, C.C. Jameson from ccjameson.com, Larry Keeton, Vicky Tharp of vickitharp.com, Chris Ann, Larry Darter, and Natalie Barelli of nataliebarelli.com for their support. Also special thanks to Craig Kingsman of craigkingsman.com for upping his monthly Patreon pledge to the Gold Shield level. Thank you so much. I also want to send a huge thank you to my Coffee Club patrons for your support. You all keep the lights on in the Bureau and I truly appreciate every single one of you. You can find links to all of the listeners supporting this episode in the show notes at writersdetective.com/67. And to learn about setting up your own Patreon account for your author business, visit writersdetective.com/patreon, P-A-T-R-E-O-N.
..And our first question this week comes from author Jesse Nori. Jesse writes, "Hi. What makes a crime a hate crime? What evidence would be needed to prosecute a crime as a hate crime? And do the accused ever point the finger back at prosecutors saying, 'I'm only being prosecuted because I'm part of a marginalized group and therefore prosecuting me is a hate crime', or some such thing. Hopefully you get the point. Thanks." Great question, Jesse. Crimes become hate crimes when the motive for the crime, the specific intention of the suspect was to commit the crime against their victim because of the victim's perceived disability, gender, nationality, race, or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or the victim's association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. So if I commit any crime, a battery, a robbery, a rape, a murder, because of my perception of your gender or sexual orientation or race or what have you, then that's a hate crime even if that list doesn't actually apply to you.
But let's say I, as the suspect think it applies to you, that makes it a hate crime. Does that make sense? So if I hit someone because I think they're gay, then that's a hate crime, regardless of whether or not my victim is actually gay or not. The key thing to understand is that hate crimes are really just regular crimes like robbery, battery, rape, murder, like I just mentioned, but they are committed with an intent of hatred against a perceived characteristic. What makes this hate crime designation different is that it is a sentence enhancement, meaning stiffer penalties for the crime than if it was just a regular crime not motivated by hate. Now for your detective. It means they need to not only prove who committed the crime, but they also have to prove that their intention was based on targeting this victim because of one or more of those characteristics listed in the criminal statute.
So that may hinge on the interrogation of the suspect, or it could be proven by witness statements about what the suspect, let's say, was yelling or was wearing at the time of the crime. Can I prove a stabbing is a hate crime because a light-skinned male stabs a dark skinned male? Just given those facts, no, I can't. But if I have witness statements, or cell phone video, or surveillance video of the suspect yelling racial slurs at the time of the attack, or wearing neo-Nazi tattoos or clothing while attacking a victim that is perceived to have a characteristic like dark skin or sexual orientation that neo-Nazis are known to target, that's a pretty easy hate crime to prove. Pretty much any crime can be a hate crime, if you can show the relation between the crime and the victim or victims being targeted.
Is a swastika painted on your own front door a crime? Probably not, thanks to the first amendment's right to free speech, unless you have a landlord. And I know some of my EU listeners are probably thinking, "What the ... right now?" But painting that same swastika on a synagogue, or a church, or a gay bar is definitely a hate crime because it's vandalism, the crime, targeting the person or persons associated with that location... Continue reading...
If you like what you read here, consider joining the mailing list for updates, seminar notifications and more!