Texas Shows What Real Prosecution of “Hate” Crime Looks Like: Death Penalty

 

This is what real “hate crimes” legislation and prosecution looks like: “A second man convicted in the 1998 dragging death of James Byrd Jr. is set to be executed this week.” A second man convicted of dragging a black man to death is set to be executed by Texas this week. This monster would be spending the rest of his life, maybe, as a ward of the state in California, or Washington State, or New York, or fill in your Democrat-controlled state here.

But see what CNN and the left prioritizes:

Barring a last-minute stay, John William King, 44, will be the second person executed in Byrd’s 1998 death. Lawrence Russell Brewer died by lethal injection in 2011. A third man, Shawn Berry, was sentenced to life in prison.

While most murders are brutal, the viciousness of Byrd’s killing shocked the world. NBA star Dennis Rodman came forward to pay for Byrd’s funeral. Filmmakers produced multiple documentaries. Artists including Geto Boys, Drive-By Truckers and Will Smith referenced the violent saga in their songs. Maryland poet laureate Lucille Clifton penned an ode to Byrd.

Now for the important result, from the left’s perspective:

Most importantly, the 49-year-old’s slaying spurred Texas and Congress to push through hate crime legislation. The federal act is often associated with the killing of Matthew Shepard, a gay student beaten to death in Wyoming, but the full name of the law is the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

Mind you, “hate crime legislation” had nothing to do with this set of successful prosecutions. The men conspired to commit murder and to carry out the murder in such a way as to max out the sentencing phase with the worst sort of aggravating factors. All the childhood bed-wetting and “depraved on account of I’m deprived” stories in the world couldn’t move the needle back from fry until extra crispy for the two men most responsible.

The third man received the maximum sentence any of the leftist-controlled states would allow, even with “hate crime” legislation. Indeed, Texas is also far more likely to actually ensure that “life” really means the convict will never draw another breath outside of prison. This points to the real motivation of “hate crime” laws being to pick favored victims and to score political points against straw men.

Getting into a bar fight and killing another man is bad, and likely deserves prison time. Tying a man up with chains and dragging him behind a vehicle until the road beats and mutilates him to death is a special level of evil. Every state in the nation already had the criminal statutes in place to make those distinctions, and already was prosecuted accordingly. Indeed, if you shoot your neighbor’s dog in her yard, or drag her dog to death, every state has the laws in place to distinguish between the first as “bad” and the second as “depraved.” Such laws regard all victims as equal under the law, not marking off some identities as more or less worthy of special solicitude by the courts.

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  1. dnewlander Coolidge
    dnewlander
    @dnewlander

    Bravo. I cannot stand “hate crimes”. Crime is crime. Let’s keep focus here.

    • #1
  2. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    “Hate crimes” are thought crimes. And eventually, all one needs is the thought without any action.

    • #2
  3. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    Having “hate crimes” in the books allows the Gummint to criminalize what you think.  It’s another step in the road to 1984.

    • #3
  4. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Equal under the law?

    That’ll never catch on. Imagine if contracting with someone to collude with Russians in order to influence a US election were to be investigated and prosecuted as a crime no matter who was involved? Who knows where that could lead?

    • #4
  5. Lash LaRoche Member
    Lash LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    Great news.

    • #5
  6. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    I know they call it the “Hate Crimes Prevention Act,” but do you think it really prevents any crimes? Would these men have thought, “I don’t mind the murder rap but what if they accuse us of hate crimes?”

    And does Bernie have any comments about the fact that this man couldn’t vote all those years awaiting execution?

    • #6
  7. RyanFalcone Member
    RyanFalcone
    @RyanFalcone

    I’m not sure that I agree with a major premise of the OP. Granted, it was 15 years ago and the professor of the class was a raving leftist but I studied the death penalty in grad school. Every indication that I got from my research indicated that the death penalty as administered today does not save tax payers money and it actually costs them no small amount more to continue the process of appealing these cases and in most cases as with this one, the sentence is carried out several decades later anyway.

    Also, unrelated to the OP but it is demonstrably false that the death penalty is a deterrent to crime that is punishable by the death penalty.

     

    • #7
  8. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    RyanFalcone (View Comment):

    I’m not sure that I agree with a major premise of the OP. Granted, it was 15 years ago and the professor of the class was a raving leftist but I studied the death penalty in grad school. Every indication that I got from my research indicated that the death penalty as administered today does not save tax payers money and it actually costs them no small amount more to continue the process of appealing these cases and in most cases as with this one, the sentence is carried out several decades later anyway.

    Also, unrelated to the OP but it is demonstrably false that the death penalty is a deterrent to crime that is punishable by the death penalty.

     

    The death penalty takes so long and is so expensive because of the huge pro bono industry aimed at delaying administration of sentences.  I read a while back where an attorney for a death row inmate argued that the long delay was itself cruel and unusual punishment.

    As far as preventing crimes, the recidivism rate for executed prisoners is zero.

    • #8
  9. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    The only reason the death penalty is not a good deterrent is that it totally loses all relation to the crime committed when it is carried out 20 years later.  If any death-penalty verdict had one immediate appeal, to the Supreme Court, and if denied the person were executed within two weeks, it would be a better deterrent.

    • #9
  10. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    IIRC, Al Gore brought up this case in one of his debates with W. W pointed out the death sentence and asked Al what else he wanted.

    transcript:

    GORE: Well, I had thought that there was a controversy at the end of the legislative session where the hate crimes law in Texas was — failed, and that the Byrd family, among others, asked you to support it, Governor, and it died in committee for lack of support. Am I wrong about that?

    BUSH: Well, you don’t realize we have a hate crimes statute? We do. GORE: I’m talking about the one that was proposed to deal —

    BUSH: No — well, what the Vice President must not understand is we’ve got a hate crimes bill in Texas. And secondly, the people that murdered Mr. Byrd got the ultimate punishment. The death penalty.

    MODERATOR: They were prosecuted under the murder laws, were they not, in Texas?

    BUSH: In this case when you murder somebody it’s hate, Jim. The crime is hate. And they got the ultimate punishment. I’m not exactly sure how you enhance the penalty any more than the death penalty. We happen to have a statute on the books that’s a hate crimes statute in Texas.

    • #10
  11. GrannyDude Member
    GrannyDude
    @GrannyDude

    Arahant (View Comment):

    “Hate crimes” are thought crimes. And eventually, all one needs is the thought without any action.

    I agree.

    • #11
  12. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    dnewlander (View Comment):

    Bravo. I cannot stand “hate crimes”. Crime is crime. Let’s keep focus here.

    I agree.  Hate is a motive, not a crime in and of itself.  Whether a killer hated his victim or killed at random, he deserves death if it’s premeditated.

    • #12
  13. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Excellent post on a troublesome subject.

    I saw one of the first “hate crime” local ordinances passed in Massachusetts during an annual town meeting for my small town on Cape Cod. I have forgotten all of the circumstances, but it was in the early nineties, and it had to do with a case in which swastikas had been painted on buildings in one of the neighboring towns. The discussion lasted an hour, and it was interesting if not a little chilling, the way a Twilight Zone episode would be. :-)

    I can see how we got here–every criminal case wisely and justly considers intent, but a consideration of intent will always bleed into a consideration of motivation. We cannot see into the human heart or mind, so we will always be only speculating in these courtroom deliberations.

    I think the only way to ensure that justice is achieved for everyone–victims and perpetrators–involved in crimes is to continue to consider intent and motivation in trials for other crimes, but to never consider intent and motivation as crimes in and of themselves.

    I think this is the line we have crossed with the advent of hate crime laws. We’re trying elevate intent and motivation to a singular legal status, and we should not do that. In other words, we were on the right road, but we’ve taken a wrong turn, and now we need to go back to where we were and take the other road.

    • #13
  14. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher
    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo…
    @GumbyMark

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    IIRC, Al Gore brought up this case in one of his debates with W. W pointed out the death sentence and asked Al what else he wanted.

    transcript:

    GORE: Well, I had thought that there was a controversy at the end of the legislative session where the hate crimes law in Texas was — failed, and that the Byrd family, among others, asked you to support it, Governor, and it died in committee for lack of support. Am I wrong about that?

    BUSH: Well, you don’t realize we have a hate crimes statute? We do. GORE: I’m talking about the one that was proposed to deal —

    BUSH: No — well, what the Vice President must not understand is we’ve got a hate crimes bill in Texas. And secondly, the people that murdered Mr. Byrd got the ultimate punishment. The death penalty.

    MODERATOR: They were prosecuted under the murder laws, were they not, in Texas?

    BUSH: In this case when you murder somebody it’s hate, Jim. The crime is hate. And they got the ultimate punishment. I’m not exactly sure how you enhance the penalty any more than the death penalty. We happen to have a statute on the books that’s a hate crimes statute in Texas.

    During the 2000 campaign the Democrats ran ads calling Bush a racist because they said he opposed hate crimes legislation; this, even though as the quotes above demonstrate he supported the death penalty for Byrd’s killers!

    • #14
  15. Richard O'Shea Coolidge
    Richard O'Shea
    @RichardOShea

    RyanFalcone (View Comment):

    I’m not sure that I agree with a major premise of the OP. Granted, it was 15 years ago and the professor of the class was a raving leftist but I studied the death penalty in grad school. Every indication that I got from my research indicated that the death penalty as administered today does not save tax payers money and it actually costs them no small amount more to continue the process of appealing these cases and in most cases as with this one, the sentence is carried out several decades later anyway.

    Also, unrelated to the OP but it is demonstrably false that the death penalty is a deterrent to crime that is punishable by the death penalty.

    The reason states have the death penalty for these crimes is because it is a fair and just punishment.  Saving money or deterrence would be a nice secondary effect, but not really necessary.

    Delaying it seems cruel…..

    • #15
  16. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    Richard O'Shea (View Comment):

    The reason states have the death penalty for these crimes is because it is a fair and just punishment. Saving money or deterrence would be a nice secondary effect, but not really necessary.

    Delaying it seems cruel…..

    Gary Gilmore certainly thought so. 

    • #16
  17. Shawn Buell (Majestyk) Contributor
    Shawn Buell (Majestyk)
    @Majestyk

    “Let them vote.” – Bernie Sanders

    • #17
  18. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Shawn Buell (Majestyk) (View Comment):

    “Let them vote.” – Bernie Sanders

    • #18
  19. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    IIRC, Al Gore brought up this case in one of his debates with W. W pointed out the death sentence and asked Al what else he wanted.

    transcript:

    GORE: Well, I had thought that there was a controversy at the end of the legislative session where the hate crimes law in Texas was — failed, and that the Byrd family, among others, asked you to support it, Governor, and it died in committee for lack of support. Am I wrong about that?

    BUSH: Well, you don’t realize we have a hate crimes statute? We do. GORE: I’m talking about the one that was proposed to deal —

    BUSH: No — well, what the Vice President must not understand is we’ve got a hate crimes bill in Texas. And secondly, the people that murdered Mr. Byrd got the ultimate punishment. The death penalty.

    MODERATOR: They were prosecuted under the murder laws, were they not, in Texas?

    BUSH: In this case when you murder somebody it’s hate, Jim. The crime is hate. And they got the ultimate punishment. I’m not exactly sure how you enhance the penalty any more than the death penalty. We happen to have a statute on the books that’s a hate crimes statute in Texas.

    One of the comparatively rare times when W didn’t let the media just roll over him.  Too bad there weren’t a lot more of them.

    • #19
  20. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    IIRC, Al Gore brought up this case in one of his debates with W. W pointed out the death sentence and asked Al what else he wanted.

    transcript:

    GORE: Well, I had thought that there was a controversy at the end of the legislative session where the hate crimes law in Texas was — failed, and that the Byrd family, among others, asked you to support it, Governor, and it died in committee for lack of support. Am I wrong about that?

    BUSH: Well, you don’t realize we have a hate crimes statute? We do. GORE: I’m talking about the one that was proposed to deal —

    BUSH: No — well, what the Vice President must not understand is we’ve got a hate crimes bill in Texas. And secondly, the people that murdered Mr. Byrd got the ultimate punishment. The death penalty.

    MODERATOR: They were prosecuted under the murder laws, were they not, in Texas?

    BUSH: In this case when you murder somebody it’s hate, Jim. The crime is hate. And they got the ultimate punishment. I’m not exactly sure how you enhance the penalty any more than the death penalty. We happen to have a statute on the books that’s a hate crimes statute in Texas.

    During the 2000 campaign the Democrats ran ads calling Bush a racist because they said he opposed hate crimes legislation; this, even though as the quotes above demonstrate he supported the death penalty for Byrd’s killers!

    But he supported punishment for Byrd’s killers for the “wrong” reasons, NOT because Byrd was black.  That is insufficient to the left.  And then of course they opposed execution too, for other reasons.

    • #20
  21. Caryn Thatcher
    Caryn
    @Caryn

    Indeed.

    • #21
  22. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher
    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo…
    @GumbyMark

    Shawn Buell (Majestyk) (View Comment):

    “Let them vote.” – Bernie Sanders

    Sanders thinks it will be a sad day when this guy is executed because the death penalty, which Bernie opposes, is depriving the killer of his right to vote.  No justice, no peace!

    • #22
  23. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Local reporter witnessing the scheduled execution:

    • #23
  24. Mark Wilson Member
    Mark Wilson
    @MarkWilson

    Stad (View Comment):

    dnewlander (View Comment):

    Bravo. I cannot stand “hate crimes”. Crime is crime. Let’s keep focus here.

    I agree. Hate is a motive, not a crime in and of itself. Whether a killer hated his victim or killed at random, he deserves death if it’s premeditated.

    I think there’s a reasonable argument that hate crimes are a form of terrorism.

    I’m talking about true hate crimes, not “hate speech”.  That is, violence targeting certain people in order to make a political statement, or to intimidate or retaliate against a group.

    • #24
  25. Pugshot Member
    Pugshot
    @Pugshot

    RyanFalcone 

    I’m not sure that I agree with a major premise of the OP. Granted, it was 15 years ago and the professor of the class was a raving leftist but I studied the death penalty in grad school. Every indication that I got from my research indicated that the death penalty as administered today does not save tax payers money and it actually costs them no small amount more to continue the process of appealing these cases and in most cases as with this one, the sentence is carried out several decades later anyway.

    Also, unrelated to the OP but it is demonstrably false that the death penalty is a deterrent to crime that is punishable by the death penalty.

    (1) If cost of enforcing the criminal law is the determining factor, then we can either limit the number of appeals from a death penalty conviction, or we can do away with appeals (and trials) altogether. Obviously, it’s more expensive to conduct a lengthy jury trial than it is to simply take the accused out and shoot him. But we have this whole idea of criminal justice that includes the concepts of due process – including jury trials and appeals following conviction, so the fact that it’s costlier to follow the dictates of the law doesn’t sway me to conclude that the death penalty must be eliminated because it’s too costly.

    (2) Deterrence is one aspect of punishment, not the only consideration; imposition of punishment itself is also an aspect; having the punishment imposed by the State (as opposed to the mob) is also an aspect of punishment. Furthermore, it is extremely difficult to determine whether someone has abstained from committing a murder because of his fear of the death penalty since if deterred, the murder will not have occurred. If deterrence is the most important aspect of enacting criminal laws forbidding certain conduct and punishing those who violate those laws, and despite these laws people continue to violate the criminal laws, that is hardly an argument against the punishment associated with the violation of criminal laws. If it was, then we should likewise do away with any punishment for “hate crimes” because I seriously doubt that anyone refrains from committing a “hate crime” because of their fear of eventual punishment.

    • #25
  26. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Mark Wilson (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    dnewlander (View Comment):

    Bravo. I cannot stand “hate crimes”. Crime is crime. Let’s keep focus here.

    I agree. Hate is a motive, not a crime in and of itself. Whether a killer hated his victim or killed at random, he deserves death if it’s premeditated.

    I think there’s a reasonable argument that hate crimes are a form of terrorism.

    I’m talking about true hate crimes, not “hate speech”. That is, violence targeting certain people in order to make a political statement, or to intimidate or retaliate against a group.

    And. Violence is already covered by criminal codes. The problem is the inclusion of some and exclusion of other categories of people in the class of those against whom violence can be alleged to be “hate.” I think domestic terrorism should simply be called that, not “hate.”

    • #26
  27. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    RyanFalcone (View Comment):

    I’m not sure that I agree with a major premise of the OP. Granted, it was 15 years ago and the professor of the class was a raving leftist but I studied the death penalty in grad school. Every indication that I got from my research indicated that the death penalty as administered today does not save tax payers money and it actually costs them no small amount more to continue the process of appealing these cases and in most cases as with this one, the sentence is carried out several decades later anyway.

    Also, unrelated to the OP but it is demonstrably false that the death penalty is a deterrent to crime that is punishable by the death penalty.

     

    The death penalty takes so long and is so expensive because of the huge pro bono industry aimed at delaying administration of sentences. I read a while back where an attorney for a death row inmate argued that the long delay was itself cruel and unusual punishment.

    As far as preventing crimes, the recidivism rate for executed prisoners is zero.

    Perhaps the bug is a feature, seeking the gradual abolition of the death penalty by continuously adding more sand to the gears of the justice system.

    • #27
  28. dnewlander Coolidge
    dnewlander
    @dnewlander

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    RyanFalcone (View Comment):

    I’m not sure that I agree with a major premise of the OP. Granted, it was 15 years ago and the professor of the class was a raving leftist but I studied the death penalty in grad school. Every indication that I got from my research indicated that the death penalty as administered today does not save tax payers money and it actually costs them no small amount more to continue the process of appealing these cases and in most cases as with this one, the sentence is carried out several decades later anyway.

    Also, unrelated to the OP but it is demonstrably false that the death penalty is a deterrent to crime that is punishable by the death penalty.

     

    The death penalty takes so long and is so expensive because of the huge pro bono industry aimed at delaying administration of sentences. I read a while back where an attorney for a death row inmate argued that the long delay was itself cruel and unusual punishment.

    As far as preventing crimes, the recidivism rate for executed prisoners is zero.

    Perhaps the bug is a feature, seeking the gradual abolition of the death penalty by continuously adding more sand to the gears of the justice system.

    “Lawfare”

    • #28
  29. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    RyanFalcone (View Comment):
    Also, unrelated to the OP but it is demonstrably false that the death penalty is a deterrent to crime that is punishable by the death penalty.

    These people disagree with you.

     

    • #29
  30. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    I find it… odd?… at best, that the left is allowed to jam up the process and then claim that the whole thing should be stopped because “it takes too long and costs too much.”  THEY cause that!

    • #30

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