Dear Editor,
Would you support a “Bias/Hate Crimes” Bill if you knew it was unconstitutional?
Supporters claim the moral high ground, saying Indiana is one of 5 states without “bias/hate crimes” legislation. They say bias/hate toward members of several “protected classes” should be an aggravating factor when sentencing.
A “Bias/Hate Crimes” Bill that lists “protected classes” is unconstitutional.
Such legislation would violate the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by denying a person equal protection of the laws. It treats thoughts, beliefs, and actions more harshly for some than for others.
“Protected class” legislation violates the Indiana Constitution by granting privileges and immunities to some but not all citizens, while undermining the presumption of innocence. It also restricts the right to speak, write or print freely on any subject.
Indiana Code amply covers civil and criminal offenses that may be committed by means of physical action, rather than thoughts and words. The Code already gives the court wide latitude when imposing sentences, considering both aggravating and mitigating circumstances. If such latitude is to be expanded, it should be without lists of “protected classes” and apply to all citizens equally.
Contact our state legislators and urge them to vote against any “Bias/Hate” crimes bills as they are largely unnecessary and unconstitutional.
Contact info is; Senator Phil Boots – 317- 232-9400 or 800-382-9467, Rep. Tim Brown – 317-232-9651 or 800-382-9841, Rep. Sharon Negele – (Coal Creek, Wayne, Ripley townships) 317-232-9816 or 800-382-9841.
Richard DeWitt