Bias crimes are a scourge on our society. Is there a more terrifying image in the mind’s eye than that of the burning cross? Punishing Hate examines the nature of bias-motivated violence and provides a foundation for understanding bias crimes and their treatment under the U.S. legal system.
In this tightly argued book, Frederick Lawrence poses the question: Should bias crimes be punished more harshly than similar crimes that are not motivated by bias? He answers strongly in the affirmative, as do a great many scholars and citizens, but he is the first to provide a solid theoretical grounding for this intuitive agreement, and a detailed model for a bias crimes statute based on the theory. The book also acts as a strong corrective to recent claims that concern about hate crimes is overblown. A former prosecutor, Lawrence argues that the enhanced punishment of bias crimes, with a substantial federal law enforcement role, is not only permitted by doctrines of criminal and constitutional law but also mandated by our societal commitment to equality.
Drawing upon a wide variety of sources, from law and criminology, to sociology and social psychology, to today’s news, Punishing Hate will have a lasting impact on the contentious debate over treatment of bias crimes in America.