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Can Prosecution Charge Hate Crime if I Have Rebel Flag?

Posted on July 1, 2015 in Federal Crimes in Northern KY General Criminal Law Issues - Northern KY

With recent changes throughout the United States and the flags, it is possible that the use/flying of a Rebel Flag may be additional evidence to characterize the offense as a HATE CRIME.  Since the government cannot know what you are thinking, they use evidence to infer your thoughts. For example, if a defendant uses derogatory names, it is evidence of your motive. Additionally, a rebel flag shirt, belt or bumper sticker may be utilized as evidence of prejudice.

A hate crime is a traditional offense like murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias. For the purposes of collecting statistics, Congress has defined a hate crime 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, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.” Hate itself is not a crime—and the FBI is mindful of protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties.

Kentucky has separate law relating to hate crimes under KRS 532.031 Hate crimes — Finding — Effect.

(1) A person may be found by the sentencing judge to have committed an offense specified below as a result of a hate crime if the person intentionally because of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, or national origin of another individual or group of individuals violates a provision of any one (1) of the following: (a) KRS 508.010, 508.020, 508.025, or 508.030; (b) KRS 508.050 or 508.060; (c) KRS 508.100 or 508.110; (d) KRS 509.020; (e) KRS 510.040, 510.050, 510.060, 510.070, 510.080, 510.090, 510.100, or 510.110; (f) KRS 512.020, 512.050, or 512.060; (g) KRS 513.020, 513.030, or 513.040; or (h) KRS 525.020, 525.050, 525.060, 525.070, or 525.080.*
(2) At sentencing, the sentencing judge shall determine if, by a preponderance of the evidence presented at the trial, a hate crime was a primary factor in the commission of the crime by the defendant. If so, the judge shall make a written finding of fact and enter that in the court record and in the judgment rendered against the defendant.

*KRS 508 relates to assaults, KRS 509 – kidnapping, KRS 510 – sexual offenses, KRS 512 – property damage, KRS 513 – arson and KRS 525 – riot and disorderly conduct.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, and more particularly with a hate crime, you need a criminal defense attorney.  For consultation in Northern Kentucky, call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6456 or email at mike@bouldinlawfirm.com.