Articles Tagged with Chicago hate crimes attorney

fabian-grohs-396734-copy-300x240Hate crimes are crimes committed against a person who is targeted for a specific reason. This can be due to race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or other factors. If you have been arrested for this type of crime, it is essential that you understand what the prosecution has to prove for you to be found guilty.

You may also want to know what type of sentence you could be facing if found guilty. Remember, having an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help eliminate or reduce these sentences.

Hate Crimes and Assault

alyssa-kibiloski-195807-copy-300x200Recent studies show that hate crimes in Chicago have increased by 20% between 2015 and 2016. New police data show that hate crimes are at a five-year high and have outpaced previous years. In fact, data show that since the last election, the number of victims of hate crimes has increased. People are treated differently, and the social dynamics of the city are shifting. Most hate crimes reported in the city have historically been toward gay men and blacks, but now they are increasingly toward Arabs, Muslims, and Hispanics. News reports continue show videos of city dwellers confronting women and men for wearing shirts that support other nations, other religions, and other races.

What Constitutes a Hate Crime?

Legally, hate crimes are any crimes motivated by some form of bias. Hate crimes are violent acts that target groups or individuals based on an identifier such as nationality, race, sexual orientation, or religion. Someone can be charged with committing a hate crime when he or she acts violently against a religious establishment or house of worship based solely on the nature of that institution. Expert attorneys know the latest changes that Illinois lawmakers have put into effect regarding these violent crimes.

hajran-pambudi-403848-copy-300x199Proving a hate crime occurred in Chicago means proving motivation. The victim assistance team will always investigate the possibility of a hate crime if they are involved in the prosecution case. The court will normally make inferences or conclusions about the true motives of the accused depending on what they said and did. Ideally the court might want to be able to know what they thought as they planned and committed the crime, but this is not yet possible.

Because it is hard to tell what a human being is thinking, the hate crime legislation has sometimes gotten into trouble with constitutional experts. Some of these experts feel that the laws end up preventing freedom of speech and expression. Others argue that just because someone is a racist or bigot, does not mean that every crime he or she commits is motivated by racism and bigotry.

Court Principles for Understanding Testimony

antonio-grosz-148540-copy-300x200Today, hate crimes are at the forefront of the struggle to create safe communities for everyone int his country. Those that accused the legislators of political correctness still make their points, but the vast majority of the public recognizes that hate crimes are never acceptable and must be prosecuted with the vigor that they deserve. Chicago is one of the areas that has struggled with a significant upsurge in hate crimes.

The state decided to tackle the problem using a combination of community policing, sensitization, and even outright legislation: the Illinois Hate Crime Act (IHCA), which is summarized under the legislative instrument number 720 ILCS 5/12-7.1. There are many procedures and processes in place that are designed to ensure that a fair and accurate outcome is delivered. This is a response to the historical and long-standing abuses in the criminal justice system, which ensured that many culprits of hate crimes got away with them. At the height of the Civil Rights movements, the Ku Klux Klan was literally enforcing its own version of vigilante justice against those who were deemed to be racially inferior.

Understanding the Imperatives and Implications of the New Regime

A Cook County man was arrested this past October and charged with attempted first-degree murder and hate crimes for allegedly stabbing a 79-year-old African-American woman.

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Illinois Hate Crimes

When most people think of a hate crime, they think of an assault upon an African-American, maybe even a lesbian, gay or transgendered individual. But hate crimes under Illinois law may be committed against an individual due to his:

  • Race;
  • Color;
  • Creed;
  • Religion;
  • Ancestry;
  • Gender;
  • Sexual Orientation;
  • Physical or mental disability, or;
  • National origin.

Hate crimes include not only assault and battery, but also:

  • Theft;
  • Trespass to residence, vehicle or real property;
  • Damage to property;
  • Mob action;
  • Disorderly conduct, or;
  • Harassment by telephone or electronic communications.

Hate crimes are a class 4 felony – class 2 if it’s a second offense – and carry with it a minimum of one year in prison. Hate crimes are a class 3 felony if committed in certain locations, such as a school or church. The penalties imposed for conviction of a hate crime are in addition to those imposed for conviction of the underlying offense. The defendant in a hate crime case is charged then not only with the hate crime, but with the assault, battery, or whatever other crime committed against the victim as well.

Defenses Against Hate Crimes

There are two portions of a hate crime defense – defending against the underlying crime, and defending against the hate crime charge. When defending against a hate crime, it is actually not a defense that the victim was not a member of a protected class. For example, if the defendant attacked a man because he thought he was Muslim, but it turned out he was Indian, the mistake as to the victim’s actual ethnicity is not a defense to the charge. It is enough that the defendant thought he was attacking a Muslim.

In order to successfully defend against a hate crime, the defense attorney must prove that the crime was not racially motivated (assuming that he cannot disprove commission of the underlying crime). Just because a crime victim falls into the protected class of victims does not automatically mean it is a hate crime, although the prosecution may attempt to argue otherwise. Proving the crime was not motivated by hatred toward the victim’s race, sexual orientation, religion, or other protected class may include:

  • Showing a lack of history of any type of racial crime;
  • Showing that the crime was one of opportunity; for example, you robbed the woman on the street corner because she was there and you needed money, not because she was a woman;
  • Lack of use of racial, sexual or other slurs against the victim during the commission of the crime, or;
  • You have a prior history of committing the same offense, and there is no pattern of it being against members of the protected class.

Disproving that the crime was motivated by reasons unrelated to race, religion, gender, or any of the other protected classes will result in the jury being forced to acquit on the hate crime charge.

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