The “idiocy of hate crime legislation” 2

This one will have lawyers and commentators tied up in knots. It is the case of lesbians who allegedly beat up a gay man.

And the issue is this: can the lesbians be charged under a hate crimes law when they are themselves gay?

Money reference from te article:

But attorney Helene Tomlinson, who represented Sanford, told the judge her client is ‘openly identified as a lesbian … so any homophobic (conduct) is unwarranted.’

I have never really understood the idea of hate crime. Most “hate crimes” fall under such categories as murder, assault, battery so it seems to me any crime, regardless of the motivation of the alleged culprit, can (should?) be tried under the categories of crimes that already exist.

In South Africa recently, a number of men were convicted of the crime of lynching a woman because she was a lesbian. While I thought they got a relatively light sentence for the premeditated murder, something like 18 years, the case against them was ‘premeditated murder.” It wouldn’t have changed the course of justice if it was determined that they had no hate in their hearts when they set upon the woman and beat her to death. Sadly, in their case, the sentence for their type of crime seems a little light in South Africa but that is another discussion.

But the question in that case, too, would be: if one of the men in that brutal killing was gay, would that still be a hate crime?