State and Local Response to Hate Crimes
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Nearly every State has some form of statute that can be invoked to redress bias-motivated crimes. The majority of States have one or more of the following types of laws:
- Criminalizing vandalism of religious institutions.
- Outlawing bias-motivated violence and intimidation.
- Requiring law enforcement personnel to receive training in identifying and investigating hate crimes.
- Proscribing interference with another person's civil rights.
- Requiring States to compile statistics on hate crimes.
Additionally, many States provide for special "penalty enhancements" of crimes motivated by hate. These penalty enhancements are designed to deter hate crimes by demonstrating that offenders risk receiving especially harsh legal responses for their actions. In 1993, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Wisconsin v. Mitchell, unanimously upheld the constitutionality of penalty enhancement statutes.