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Partner Organizations

Anti-Defamation League


Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence


Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund

Funded By

Office of Juvenile Deliquency Prevention U.S. Department of Justice


Safe and Drug Free Schools Program U.S. Department of Education

Funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the U.S. Department of Education, Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program.

Issue/Question:
Can hate crime laws be used against hate on the Internet?

Suggested Response:

If a person's use of the Internet rises to the level of criminal conduct, it may subject the perpetrator to an enhanced sentence under a State's hate crime laws. Currently, 40 States and the District of Columbia have such laws in place. The criminal's sentence may be more severe if the prosecution can prove that he or she intentionally selected the victim based on his or her race, nationality, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. However, these laws do not apply to conduct or speech protected by the First Amendment.
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