Defense of those Accused of Hate Crimes
Persons accused of or charged with a “hate crime” often feel that the government is persecuting, rather than prosecuting, them. This perception is well grounded. For while our Federal and State governments prosecute thousands of individuals for murder, rape, and child molestation, law enforcement officials reserve a heightened level of vitriol for those they have charged with committing “hate crimes.” To meet the challenge of being unfairly targeted for a vaguely defined crime, retain a Boston Hate Crimes Lawyer who refuses to be intimidated by political correctness.
“Hate crimes” generally refers to acts believed motivated, at least in part, by anger toward, or hatred of, an individual or group because of his or their ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or disability. The “acts” need not be, in and of themselves, criminal and may include bullying, harassment, verbal abuse, abusive or offensive graffiti, or even offensive correspondence. Individuals alleged to have committed crimes motivated by “hate” face enhanced penalties if convicted. It is, therefore, not so much the crime, but the status of the victim, that determines the punishment.
Defending a person accused of a hate crime is no small task. The Federal and State prosecutors assigned to investigate and prosecute hate crimes lack the detachment we usually encounter in seasoned prosecutors. Instead, these prosecutors behave more like avenging angels crusading against something they view as a societal cancer. Despite this prosecutorial fanaticism, or maybe because of it, these cases are often defensible. With so much at stake, choosing the right criminal defense lawyer to represent you is critical – a lawyer who will patiently listen to your side of this ordeal, explain the judicial process, thoroughly investigate and analyze the case against you, formulate a strategy to deftly navigate you to safety, and, if necessary, knock the prosecutors on their collective asses.
For nearly 20 years, Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney Kevin J. Mahoney has consistently obtained acquittals for clients accused of violent crimes by taking the time to master the factual details, assembling a team of professionals to assist him, including highly motivated licensed investigators and capable forensic investigators, and a determination to find a way to win the trial.
In his best selling book, Relentless Criminal Cross-Examination (2008), Mahoney devotes an entire chapter to teaching lawyers how to cross-examine alleged victims. While experience, aggression, and communication skills are important assets for every criminal defense lawyer, tactical, disciplined, creative and thorough cross-examination of prosecution witnesses wins trials. Mahoney has earned a nationwide reputation as a consummate cross-examiner. And spending the time to really get to know his client, his particular circumstances, and the details of the alleged incident, together with innovative investigative techniques and solid preparation, are the foundation of his most successful cross-examinations.
History of Federal “Hate Crimes” Legislation
The 1964 Federal Civil Rights Law, codified at 18 U.S.C. § 245(b)(2), criminalized acts designed to injure, intimidate, or interfere with another person’s attempt to exercise six types of federally protected activities, such as attending school, seeking employment, patronizing a public place, serving as a juror or casting a vote, because of that person’s race, color, religion, or national origin. In October of 2009, President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law, making it a federal “hate crime” to commit crimes against people based on their sexual orientation, gender, or disability, thereby enlarging the scope of the 1968 law that prohibited targeting people for crimes because of their race, religion or national origin. The Hate Crimes Prevention Act, greatly expands victim classifications and the authority of the U.S. Department of Justice to prosecute crimes that have, historically, been within the exclusive jurisdiction of the States.