9780195114485

Hate Crimes: Criminal Law and Identity Politics (Studies in Crime and Public Policy)

Jacobs, James B.; Potter, Kimberly

ISBN 10: 0195114485 / 0-19-511448-5
ISBN 13: 9780195114485
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 1998
Binding: Hardcover
Editorial Reviews:
Synopsis:
In the early 1980s, a new category of crime appeared in the criminal law lexicon. In response to concerted advocacy-group lobbying, Congress and many state legislatures passed a wave of "hate crime" laws requiring the collection of statistics on, and enhancing the punishment for, crimes motivated by certain prejudices. This book places the evolution of the hate crime concept in socio-legal perspective. James B. Jacobs and Kimberly Potter adopt a skeptical if not critical stance, maintaining that legal definitions of hate crime are riddled with ambiguity and subjectivity. No matter how hate crime is defined, and despite an apparent media consensus to the contrary, the authors find no evidence to support the claim that the United States is experiencing a hate crime epidemic--instead, they cast doubt on whether the number of hate crimes is even increasing. The authors further assert that, while the federal effort to establish a reliable hate crime accounting system has failed, data collected for this purpose have led to widespread misinterpretation of the state of intergroup relations in this country.

The book contends that hate crime as a socio-legal category represents the elaboration of an identity politics now manifesting itself in many areas of the law. But the attempt to apply the anti-discrimination paradigm to criminal law generates problems and anomalies. For one thing, members of minority groups are frequently hate crime perpetrators. Moreover, the underlying conduct prohibited by hate crime law is already subject to criminal punishment. Jacobs and Potter question whether hate crimes are worse or more serious than similar crimes attributable to other anti-social motivations. They also argue that the effort to single out hate crime for greater punishment is, in effect, an effort to punish some offenders more seriously simply because of their beliefs, opinions, or values, thus implicating the First Amendment.

Advancing a provocative argument in clear and persuasive terms, Jacobs and Potter show how the recriminalization of hate crime has little (if any) value with respect to law enforcement or criminal justice. Indeed, enforcement of such laws may exacerbate intergroup tensions rather than eradicate prejudice.

Review:
Beginning in the mid-1980s, Americans were told that "hate crime" was on the rise throughout the nation. Numerous advocacy groups lobbied for--and achieved--the passage of laws specifically engineered to document the rise in hate crime and dole out extra punishment for perpetrators who chose their victims on the basis of race, ethnic group, religion, or sexual orientation. But were these legislative efforts necessary?

James B. Jacobs and Kimberly Potter suggest not. They argue that the definitions of "hate crime" are often too vague to be meaningful. They cite the case of a black man who robbed white people simply because he believed they had more money than blacks and who did not abuse whites with racial invective as he committed his crimes, as an example. Jacobs and Potter point out that "whether or not the authors of hate crime legislation meant to cover [such] offenders, these are the individuals who dominate the statistics." They then analyze the statistical data and find no evidence supporting the belief that hate-instigated violence is on the rise; they also find that the majority of reported hate crimes are low-level offenses such as vandalism and "intimidation." Brutal assaults and murders, while they may provide grist for media sensationalists, are rare.

Jacobs and Potter also argue convincingly that the development of hate-crime legislation arises from the identity politics movements which have gained strength since the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Essentially, according to their line of reasoning, claims of the existence of a hate-crime epidemic and laws punishing hate crimes serve two purposes. One, they allow minorities to express outrage at the way they are being treated by society. Two, they allow nonminorities to act as if they understand minorities' pain and reaffirm the uncontroversial belief that prejudice and bigotry are wrong. But crime, the authors suggest, is not simply "a subcategory of the intergroup struggles between races, ethnic groups, religious groups, genders, and people of different sexual orientations." Hate-crime laws may even, they warn, exacerbate perceived differences rather than create harmony.

Hate--or, more accurate, bigotry--is wrong. Crime is also wrong. But Jacobs and Potter make a convincing argument against considering crime tinged with bigotry worse than unadulterated crime. "The enforcement of generic criminal law," they conclude, "is adequate to vindicate the interests of 'hate crime' victims as it is of other crime victims."

Review

 

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Hate Crimes Criminal Law and Identity Politics (ISBN: 9780195114485)
Jacobs, James B.;Potter, Kimberly
ISBN 10: 0195114485
ISBN 13: 9780195114485
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Hate Crimes: Criminal Law and Identity Politics (Studies in Crime and Public Policy) (ISBN: 0195114485 / 0-19-511448-5)
Jacobs, James B.;Potter, Kimberly
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ISBN 13: 9780195114485
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Hate Crimes. Criminal Law and Identity Politics (ISBN: 9780195114485)
Jacobs, James B.;Potter, Kimberly
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Book Description: Oxford University Press Inc, New York, 1998. Book Condition: New. Language: english. An in-depth critique of the USA's dominant political and legal response to hate crime in the STUDIES IN CRIME AND PUBLIC POLICY series. The fallacious construction of hate crime epidemics by politicians and the media is considered, and it is argued that the laws created in response to such prejudicial views can be regarded as symbolic politics. Print On Demand. Bookseller Inventory # 1186411

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Hate Crimes (ISBN: 9780195114485)
Jacobs, James B.;Potter, Kimberly
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Hate Crimes: Criminal Law and Identity Politics (ISBN: 9780195114485)
Jacobs, James B.;Potter, Kimberly
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Hate Crimes: Criminal Law and Identity Politics (Hardback) (ISBN: 9780195114485)
Jacobs, James B.;Potter, Kimberly
ISBN 10: 0195114485
ISBN 13: 9780195114485
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Book Description: Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 1998. Hardback. Book Condition: New. New ed. 232 x 154 mm. Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Early in the 1980s, a new category of crime appeared in the criminal law lexicon. In response to what was said to be an epidemic of prejudice-motivated violence, Congress and many state legislatures passed a wave of hate crime laws that required the collection of statistics and enhanced the punishment of crimes motivated by certain prejudices. This book places in socio-legal perspective both the hate crime problem and society s response to it. From the outset, Jacobs and Potter adopt a sceptical if not critical stance. They argue that hate crime is a hopelessly muddled concept and that legal definitions of the term are riddled with ambiguity and subjectivity. Moreover, no matter how hate crime is defined, the authors find no evidence to support the claim that the US is experiencing a hate crime epidemic--nor that the number or rate of hate crimes is at an historic zenith. Furthermore, assert the authors, the federal effort to establish a hate crime accounting system has been a failure. The authors argue that hate crime as a socio-legal category represents the elaboration of an identity politics that manifests itself in many areas of the law. However, the attempt to apply the anti-discrimination paradigm to criminal law generates a number of problems and anomalies. The underlying conduct that hate crime law prohibits is already subject to criminal punishment. Jacobs and Potter maintain that there is no persuasive rationale for saying that hate crimes are worse or more serious than similar crimes attributable to other anti-social motivations. Also, they argue that the effort to single out hate crime for greater punishment, in effect, is an effort to punish some offenders more seriously because of their bad beliefs, opinions, or values, thus implicating the First Amendment. Jabobs and Potter show that the recriminalization of hate crime has little (if any) value with respect to law enforcement or criminal justice. Indeed, enforcement of such laws may in fact exacerbate intergroup tensions rather than eradicate prejudice. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780195114485

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Hate Crimes: Criminal Law and Identity Politics (Hardback) (ISBN: 9780195114485)
Jacobs, James B.;Potter, Kimberly
ISBN 10: 0195114485
ISBN 13: 9780195114485
Bookseller: The Book Depository (Gloucester, UK, United Kingdom)
Bookseller Rating: 5-star rating
Quantity Available: 10

Book Description: Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 1998. Hardback. Book Condition: New. New ed. 232 x 154 mm. Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.Early in the 1980s, a new category of crime appeared in the criminal law lexicon. In response to what was said to be an epidemic of prejudice-motivated violence, Congress and many state legislatures passed a wave of hate crime laws that required the collection of statistics and enhanced the punishment of crimes motivated by certain prejudices. This book places in socio-legal perspective both the hate crime problem and society s response to it. From the outset, Jacobs and Potter adopt a sceptical if not critical stance. They argue that hate crime is a hopelessly muddled concept and that legal definitions of the term are riddled with ambiguity and subjectivity. Moreover, no matter how hate crime is defined, the authors find no evidence to support the claim that the US is experiencing a hate crime epidemic--nor that the number or rate of hate crimes is at an historic zenith. Furthermore, assert the authors, the federal effort to establish a hate crime accounting system has been a failure. The authors argue that hate crime as a socio-legal category represents the elaboration of an identity politics that manifests itself in many areas of the law. However, the attempt to apply the anti-discrimination paradigm to criminal law generates a number of problems and anomalies. The underlying conduct that hate crime law prohibits is already subject to criminal punishment. Jacobs and Potter maintain that there is no persuasive rationale for saying that hate crimes are worse or more serious than similar crimes attributable to other anti-social motivations. Also, they argue that the effort to single out hate crime for greater punishment, in effect, is an effort to punish some offenders more seriously because of their bad beliefs, opinions, or values, thus implicating the First Amendment. Jabobs and Potter show that the recriminalization of hate crime has little (if any) value with respect to law enforcement or criminal justice. Indeed, enforcement of such laws may in fact exacerbate intergroup tensions rather than eradicate prejudice. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780195114485

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Hate Crimes: Criminal Law and Identity Politics (Studies in Crime and Public Policy) (ISBN: 9780195114485)
Jacobs, James B.;Potter, Kimberly
ISBN 10: 0195114485
ISBN 13: 9780195114485
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Book Description: Hardcover. Book Condition: New. This item is printed on demand. Hardcover. In the early 1980s, a new category of crime appeared in the criminal law lexicon. In response to concerted advocacy-group lobbying, Congress and many state legislatures passed a wave of hate crime laws requiring the collection of statistics on, and enhancing the punishment for, crimes motivated by certain prejudices. This book places the evolution of the hate crime concept in socio-legal perspective. James B. Jacobs and Kimberly Potter adopt a skeptical if not critical stance, maintaining that legal definitions of hate crime are riddled with ambiguity and subjectivity. No matter how hate crime is defined, and despite an apparent media consensus to the contrary, the authors find no evidence to support the claim that the United States is experiencing a hate crime epidemic--instead, they cast doubt on whether the number of hate crimes is even increasing. The authors further assert that, while the federal effort to establish a reliable hate crime accounting system has failed, data collected for this purpose have led to widespread misinterpretation of the state of intergroup relations in this country. The book contends that hate crime as a socio-legal category represents the elaboration of an identity politics now manifesting itself in many areas of the law. But the attempt to apply the anti-discrimination paradigm to criminal law generates problems and anomalies. For one thing, members of minority groups are frequently hate crime perpetrators. Moreover, the underlying conduct prohibited by hate crime law is already subject to criminal punishment. Jacobs and Potter question whether hate crimes are worse or more serious than similar crimes attributable to other anti-social motivations. They also argue that the effort to single out hate crime for greater punishment is, in effect, an effort to punish some offenders more seriously simply because of their beliefs, opinions, or values, thus implicating the First Amendment. Advancing a provocative argument in clear and persuasive terms, Jacobs and Potter show how the recriminalization of hate crime has little (if any) value with respect to law enforcement or criminal justice. Indeed, enforcement of such laws may exacerbate intergroup tensions rather than eradicate prejudice. This item ships from La Vergne,TN. book. Bookseller Inventory # 9780195114485

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