Derecho Constitucional / Constitucional Law

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Utah Senate approves hate crimes Bill

Source: Jurist

March 06, 2019

-United States-

 The Utah Senate passed a hates crime bill (SB 103) by a vote of 18-11 on Tuesday. The bill now moves to the Utah House of Representatives for consideration.

SB 103 would authorize increased penalties for criminals who target victims based on certain personal attributes including age, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation.

(2) A defendant is subject to enhanced penalties under Subsection (3) if the defendant intentionally selects:

(a) the victim of the criminal offense because of the defendant’s belief or perception regarding the victim’s personal attribute or a personal attribute of another individual or group of individuals with whom the victim has a relationship; or
(b) the property damaged or otherwise affected by the criminal offense because of the defendant’s belief or perception regarding the property owner’s, possessor’s, or occupant’s personal attribute or a personal attribute of another individual or group of individuals with whom the property owner, possessor, or occupant has a relationship.

Senator Daniel Thatcher, who sponsored the bill, said the biggest hurdle facing the bill came from senators worried about prosecuting thought crimes. As written, SB 103 would not operate as a standalone criminal offense, and only increase penalties for those convicted of other crimes.

SB 103 faced significant debate on the floor, including over what classes should be covered.

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