February 23, 2016

"Mr. Morales, who is representing himself, told jurors that he was 'not a bigot of any type' and claimed that 'what happened was not an act of intent or hate on my part.'"

"'I am a human being like everyone else,' he said. 'I made my share of mistakes. That doesn’t make me a bad person.'"

One of the mistakes is representing yourself when you are on trial for murder (murder as a hate crime).

26 comments:

n.n said...

He's a sanctimonious hypocrite. Burn him at the stake.

Same old orthodoxy. So pragmatic. So unprincipled.

Hagar said...

"Hate" crimes are still BS.
A crime is a crime is a crime.

MaxedOutMama said...

Well, he's going to be found guilty regardless. Perhaps defending himself will make the jury wish they could sentence him to some inventive death, but he did the crime.

MisterBuddwing said...

As a layperson who sometimes watches television, I've come to regard "pro se" as one of the funniest concepts of law, at least the way it's portrayed in shows like the "Law & Order" franchise - inevitably, the TV judge blows up at the ineptitude of the amateur attorney wannabe.

traditionalguy said...

The solution is for NYC to make the concealed carry of unlicensed handguns by convicted felons illegal.

There. I solved it.

David Begley said...

Textbook example of a fool for a lawyer.

AlbertAnonymous said...

So the perp/attorney said "you look like gay wrestlers" as he passed by two guys. Instead of continuing on their way, at least one of the guys (the now dead guy) decided to turn around and pursue the perp, talking back, and literally the last thing he said was "you're not going to do anything, you're not going to do anything"

Hate to speak ill of the dead, but he didn't make the best choices that night either.

And no, I'm not saying he deserved it, or victim blaming...just making an observation about self preservation.

traditionalguy said...

Maybe he sees himself as the Jailhouse lawyer. In his prison, Like U. of Wisconsin Law School, no bar exam is required if you serve your first sentence.

LarsPorsena said...

A hate crime? Since it's murder what are they going to do?
Give him life and then an extra 10 years because it's a hate crime?

YoungHegelian said...

Ordered to stop, he pulled a pistol on Officer Henry Hoyt, but fumbled the gun. The officer wrestled him to the ground.

Well, that was a missed opportunity for moral closure by the NYPD.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Help me understand this "Hate Crime" thing, Professor.

If someone hates the logging industry, drives a spike into a tree, and causes injury or death to a lumberj[ack/ill], is there a "Hate Addendum" to the sentence?

If someone hates seafood and blows up shrimp boat resulting in several deaths, does an extra penalty attach?

Richard Dolan said...

As it happens, the mistake will have no impact on the outcome.

The Godfather said...

The story doesn't tell us whether Morales is offering a defense to the murder charge, and if so what it is. We are left with the impression that he denies that he's an anti-Gay bigot, but that doesn't negate the murder charge. Perhaps he claims that he was acting in self-defense because he thought the "gay wrestlers" were going to kill him. Although in that case, the anti-Gay slurs might actually help his defense, because that makes it more plausible that he would be in fear for his life.

Ann Althouse said...

"Help me understand this "Hate Crime" thing, Professor."

It has to do with the additional harm of affecting not just the murdered person but others in the group that seems to have been targeted. That's an inequality that other people experience, a different kind of harm from the more general threat of violence.

If there are a lot of murders in an area, that might be threatening to everyone. That's bad. But it would be bad in a different way if there were murders targeting people because they are gay (or black or something else). Some people would feel fear or might limit their activities because of their awareness that their group faces a special danger.

I think women feel that and many of us restrict what we do because we feel that, as women, we are in a special danger.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Thanks. Now riddle me this. Who gets to decide what makes a "group" and what "groups" are protected?

Ann Althouse said...

"Thanks. Now riddle me this. Who gets to decide what makes a "group" and what "groups" are protected?"

The laws are written so that people on either side of a classification are protected. Thus, if race or sexual orientation or sex were the classification, it could be a hate crime if white people or heterosexuals or males were targeted. You'd have to look at the text of the statute to see which classifications are covered, but once they are there, it's not that only one side of the line is protected. So all are protected with respect to whatever classifications are identified in the statutes.

Ann Althouse said...

The most significant Supreme Court case on the subject, Wisconsin v. Mitchell, involved black males singling out a white person, based on race. The opinion, from 1995, is unanimous.

"... Mitchell was convicted of aggravated battery. Wis. Stat. §§ 939.05 and 940.19(1m) (1989-1990). That offense ordinarily carries a maximum sentence of two years' imprisonment. §§ 940.19(1m) and 939.50(3)(e). But because the jury found that Mitchell had intentionally selected his victim because of the boy's race, the maximum sentence for Mitchell's offense was increased to seven years under § 939.645. That provision enhances the maximum penalty for an offense whenever the defendant "[i]ntentionally selects the person against whom the crime . . . is committed . . . because of the race, religion, color, disability, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry of that person . . . ." § 939.645(1)(b)."

So, there's your list of classifications in the statute.

Chief Justice Rehquist wrote:

"[T]he Wisconsin statute singles out for enhancement bias inspired conduct because this conduct is thought to inflict greater individual and societal harm. For example, according to the State and its amici, bias motivated crimes are more likely to provoke retaliatory crimes, inflict distinct emotional harms on their victims, and incite community unrest. See, e. g., Brief for Petitioner 24-27; Brief for United States as Amicus Curiae 13-15;Brief for Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law as Amicus Curiae 18-22; Brief for the American Civil Liberties Union as Amicus Curiae 17-19; Brief for the Anti Defamation League et al. as Amici Curiae 9-10; Brief for Congressman Charles E. Schumer et al. as Amici Curiae 8-9. The State's desire to redress these perceived harms provides an adequate explanation for its penalty enhancement provision over and above mere disagreement with offenders' beliefs or biases. As Blackstone said long ago, "it is but reasonable that among crimes of different natures those should be most severely punished, which are the most destructive of the public safety and happiness." 4 W. Blackstone, Commentaries *16."

mccullough said...

Most lawyers won't be able to obtain an acquittal. Better to save your money and lose than give it to a lawyer and lose. Judges like defense lawyers because they keep the process moving quickly and smoothly. They hate pro se litigants because they don't know the rules of evidence and aren't focused. The end result is the same. Tell a judge you'll represent yourself pro se or will plead guilty for the minimum sentence. The judge will make the prosecutor take that deal

JCC said...

The defendant is white, the victim and his companion black. The defendant has served time in prison for robbery and may be trying for a new trial down the road on appeal, based on being allowed to represent himself and the resulting multiple trial errors. Or he's just a typical sociopathic loser with an overactive ego who thinks he will BS the jury into voting him Citizen of the Year, once he gets going in court. His efforts in this regard will bring much mirth to prosecutors and cops in the courthouse, not so much for the trial judge.

But I think it's safe to predict a long career ahead for Mr Morales making cotton gloves or learning the commercial laundry trade. And joining the ranks of gay males out, despite his current point of view.

It's hardly justice perhaps, or maybe it is hard justice, but it's what we have. Good enough for me.

Fernandinande said...

That doesn’t make me a bad person.

Hating wrasslers makes him a bad person.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Much appreciated, Professor. Still not liking it. Two reasons come to mind.

1. Cannot reconcile special treatment for members of a "group" with the (to me) more fundamental concept of equal treatment for all under the Law. Any exceptions to legal equality of all persons dilutes the Law and consequently respect for Law.

2. If "Some people would feel fear or might limit their activities..." that is on them. Bad enough to punish someone because somebody else feels bad. Worse to punish a person because someone might feel bad in the future.

Feelings are the responsibility of the individual. Each must own his/her feelings and not attribute them to someone/thing else. If you have attended a Marriage Encounter retreat or read "The Secret of Staying in Love," John Powell you know the concept.

Frankly I find the whole thing of Hate Crimes "destructive of public safety and happiness" in that they diminish the Law.

'Nuff of that, I guess. Thanks again for the mind wrestle.

Ron said...

I wonder if committing a hate crime vs. the same crime without hate is analogous to premeditated murder vs. non-premeditated murder. In both cases, we care what the state of mind of the criminal was and how much time he or she allowed themselves to think about what they were doing or about to do.

Eric said...

Tell a judge you'll represent yourself pro se or will plead guilty for the minimum sentence. The judge will make the prosecutor take that deal

Is that actually a deal you can make? I thought the deal was always worded such that the prosecutor can recommend a sentence, but the judge can still do whatever he wants.

ken in tx said...

All that stuff you explained about Hate crimes I already knew. What you didn't explain was how it rhymes with "Equal protection under the law." I think that's because it doesn't.

JCC said...

@ Ken -

You can take into account when sentencing the state of mind of the defendant, so, a person convicted of killing during a fight or domestic argument, say, might (will) get a lesser sentence (or get convicted of a lesser included crime) than a person convicted of killing to eliminate a witness, or a killing for money, for example. Under that rationale, a "hate crime" becomes another examination of the state of minf of the defendant and a qualifier for a lower of higher sentence based on that. So, if you kill your spouse while drunk and enraged or excited, and thus, acted out of character or acted while perhaps incited, you might not get the same sanction than if you killed a stranger for nothing more than some facet of their nature which you didn't like.

I'm not sure I agree with every so-called "hate crime", but there is a logic to it.

mikee said...

"Hate crime" laws enable the state to criminalize one's thoughts, despite that pesky Constitution thingy. They have no other purpose, except perhaps also to foster group identity politics above individual rights.