Research Summary #3

Jackson Toby’s article articulates that there is no need to include or make alterations to the current hate-crime laws. He points out making changes to the existing hate-crime laws “do not make sense as public policy.” He notes that in certain criminal cases “a toughened hate-crime law could not … [add] anything to the penalty…but there are lesser crimes like assault or vandalism where hate-crime statutes can indeed add to the penalty.” He points out that there are already laws that “extend the scope of federal hate-crime protection beyond race, religion, and national origin to gender, sexual orientation, and disability.” Hence, he believes that additional hate-crime laws are “unnecessary.”

To support his argument that there is no need for enhancement of punishments, Toby explains why enhancements are “unnecessary” and can cause problems in the judicial system. He agrees with a point that Former President Bush made, claiming “in the cases that arouse the most public indignation, conviction already results in very severe penalties: death or life imprisonment. But even with less serious felonies, like armed robbery, existing sentencing procedures already allow room for tougher sentences for more heinous crimes.” Toby also notes that with increasing criminal laws there will be an “increase the inefficiency of the criminal justice system by wasting scarce custodial space.” Besides being inefficient, Toby argues that different hate-crimes call for different punishments. However, hate-crime laws will only create “a one-size-fits-all penalty, that ties the judge’s hands once the jury comes in with a guilty verdict.” In addition, punishments for hate-crime offenders can be “inflexible and possibly unfair” if the punishments for all these criminals are the same, although there can be a range of crimes they committed. Toby also points out that this can cause overcrowding in prisons, leaving “less room in jails for others guilty of equally serious or worse misbehaviors, and “[forcing] prison systems to release prisoners whom most citizen consider a public menace.”  Jackson Toby’s goal is to argue that hate-crime laws are not the solution to discourage hate crimes from happening.

Toby’s view is that hate-crimes laws are unnecessary. Rather than doing what they’re supposed to do, these laws can cause inconveniences in the judicial system and can also be unjust.

Works Cited:

Toby, Jackson. “Hate-Crime Laws Are Unnecessary.” Hate Groups. Ed. Mary E. Williams. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2004. Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 23 Sept. 2013.


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