Overview of Federal Hate Crime Laws [April 1, 2022]   [open pdf - 2MB]

From the Document: "Hate, in and of itself, cannot be criminalized. When hate motivates criminal conduct, however, such conduct may be classified as a hate crime--defined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as a 'criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender's bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.' According to the FBI, hate crimes are 'traditional offenses like murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias.' In 2020, the FBI received reports of 8,263 incidents of bias-motivated crimes involving 11,472 victims. Hate crime laws have garnered significant public attention, as evidenced by the widespread media coverage of the reported rise in hate crimes during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Over the years, Congress has maintained a perennial interest in hate crime laws, and a number of relevant proposals have been introduced in recent Congresses to either enact new or amend existing federal hate crime laws. [...] This Report begins with an overview of concepts key to understanding the applicability and scope of federal hate crime laws, and what it means for conduct to occur 'because of' a factor such as race, religion, gender, or other characteristics of a victim or person. It then examines the substantive provisions of the federal hate crime statutes listed above, and summarizes statutorily authorized penalties and the hate crime enhancement contained in the Guidelines. The Report concludes by evaluating various sources of congressional authority to legislate in the hate crime arena and discusses hate crime legislation introduced in the 117th Congress."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R47060
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/
Media Type:
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