Justice Department Update on Hate Crimes Prosecutions
Today, on the one year anniversary of the Justice Department’s 2017 Hate Crimes Summit, the Department announced an update on hate crimes prosecutions under the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section. The Department is committed to enforcing federal hate crimes statutes, which allow the Department to prosecute certain crimes that are committed because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of any person. In recent years, the Department has ramped up its prosecutions of hate crimes and increased training of federal, state, and local law enforcement officers to ensure that hate crimes are identified and prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.
Over the past 10 years, the Department of Justice has charged more than 200 defendants with hate crimes offenses. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 (HCPA) provided a valuable new tool in this effort. The Department has used the HCPA to indict 88 defendants in 42 hate crimes cases with 64 convictions to date. In FY 2016, the Department charged 27 defendants in 18 cases, obtaining 16 convictions. Since January 2017, the Department has indicted 32 defendants involved in committing hate crimes and secured convictions of 32 defendants for hate crimes incidents.
“Individuals should be able to live their lives free from the threat of violence and discrimination, no matter who they are, what they believe, or how they worship,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore. “I am proud of the work that the Civil Rights Division has already accomplished, and we will continue to work diligently to bring to justice perpetrators of hate crimes across the country.”
Hate crimes prosecutions from January 2017 to present:
- Racial Hate Crimes
- Eight indictments and 14 convictions
- Religious Hate Crimes
- Eight indictments and seven convictions in cases involving arson or other physical attacks, or conspiracy or threats to commit such attacks against places of worship;
- Seven indictments and five convictions in cases involving other hate crimes based on religion.
- Sexual Orientation Hate Crimes
- Six indictments and six convictions
- Other (Gender Identity Hate Crimes)
- One sentence;
- One indictment, one conviction in state court with a federal prosecutor cross-designated as a state prosecutor.
Based on the FBI’s latest Uniform Crime Statistics Report, issued in November 2017 for calendar year 2016, there were 6,063 single-bias incidents reported involving 7,227 offenses, 7,509 victims, and 5,727 known offenders, and 58 multiple-bias incidents reported involving 94 offenses, 106 victims, and 43 known offenders.
The Department has created and launched a number of training and outreach programs in order to work with the network of U.S. Attorney’s Offices, local communities and organizations, and law enforcement to find, identify, investigate, and prosecute hate crimes cases all over the country. These programs include state and local law enforcement trainings, roundtable and panel discussions, stakeholder telephone conferences, and hate crime summits.
More information about the Justice Department’s hate crimes enforcement efforts can be found at https://www.justice.gov/crt/hate-crimes-0.