House Bill 426 – Georgia Love Crimes Bill
(Some call it a “hate” crimes bill but that is a such a negative way of looking at it)
The good news for law-abiding citizens is that last week Georgia stiffened penalties for felonies and the misdemeanor crimes of simple assault, simple battery, battery, criminal trespass, and misdemeanor theft.
But this bill is also a win for criminals, because if they play their cards right they may also have these penalties reduced. Simply pick your target so that it is someone like you (in terms of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender, mental disability, or physical disability) and the judge will probably decrease your sentence. And that is where the “Love Crimes” bill gets its name. Attack someone from a group that you ‘love’ and get less time in the joint. Translated into prison lingo: “Rape someone who reads you mail, get less time in jail.” (Yes, they need to work on the wording but give them a break. It has only been a week.)
The judge will decide if they think you qualify for a lighter sentence based on how he or she feels about the case. Actually it is not how the judge feels about the case – it is how he believes that the criminal feels about the victim. Unfortunately, the law is very vague about how the judge will be able to determine whether you like the person enough to be awarded the shorter penalty.
“But that’s not fair!’ you may say. “Why should a violent offender get a shorter sentence just because they attacked someone who was like them? I thought we all were entitled to equal protection under the law!” Well, obviously not. That’s not the way things work now. Deal with it.
Some have tried to argue that reduced penalties are actually bad news for the victim and their family. The person who raped your little girl or beat up your wife won’t get as tough a sentence as if you had been gay. But those people are just being small-minded and you shouldn’t be listening to them anyway.