Graffiti attack on Texas lesbians will not be treated as a hate crime

  • metta

    Posts: 39104

    Oct 05, 2012 6:37 AM GMT


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    Graffiti attack on Texas lesbians will not be treated as a hate crime

    Prosecutors in Arlington, Texas have decided not to prosecute a homophobic graffiti attack on a lesbian couple’s SUV as a hate crime as they feel it would complicate the case.

    Daniel Sibley, 18, John Austin Cartwright, 17, Seth Stephen Hatcher, 18, and Morgen Rae Aubuchon, 18, were indicted on September 25 for a string of vandalism offences committed on the night of June 9 which included spraying the words ‘faggot’ and ‘queer’ on the women’s vehicle.

    The women’s vehicle had a decal of a lesbian couple and children on the window which the youths spray-painted the slurs on.

    Tarrant County Assistant District Attorney Betty Arvin said the anti-gay graffiti could have been dealt with separately as a hate crime but that would have complicated things.

    Her office instead chose to combine all 13 individual incidents, involving public signs, garage doors and vehicles across more than a dozen residences, to obtain a state jail felony charge.

    ‘We felt like we would have more flexibility and more options if we aggregated the cases so that’s what we did,’ Ardin told the Dallas Voice.

    ‘For a hate crime you’ve got to prove that the people involved specifically targeted a person or their property due to … their sexual orientation or their race, and we suspect it but we can’t prove that. Well, we certainly can’t prove it on all 13 [counts].

    Arlington Police had initially said they planned to report the incident to the FBI.

    ‘A crime of hatred is not only a crime against an individual but it is a crime against the community,’ acting Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson had told a press conference just 11 days after the attack.

    ‘Early in this investigation it was clear that hateful and biased language was used to damage property at multiple locations. It was equally clear that at least one of our 13 victims was targeted specifically because of their sexual orientation.’

    The youths are facing potential jail terms of between 180 days and two years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine each.

    They will next appear in court on October 24.

    A 16 year old girl also believed to be involved will be dealt with separately through the juvenile justice system.

    Texas law prohibits hate crimes based on sexual orientation and covers both property crimes and violent crimes.


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  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 05, 2012 6:43 AM GMT
    Will have to remember this the next time someone in a thread says liberal states like New York or California have higher rates of hate crimes than many conservative states. There's a reason for that.
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    Oct 05, 2012 3:44 PM GMT
    The actions are deplorable, but I think the prosecutor was right in attempting the case in the manner done. Hate crimes are harder to stick, especially in this region against sexual orientation. So... combining it into a pattern for a felony that can be easily obtained instead of trying to prove that it is a hate crime (Because, lets face it, those boys could have spray painted "queer" because they use that word like some boys use "retard) is actually a good idea.
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    Oct 05, 2012 4:09 PM GMT
    Olandew saidThe actions are deplorable, but I think the prosecutor was right in attempting the case in the manner done. Hate crimes are harder to stick, especially in this region against sexual orientation. So... combining it into a pattern for a felony that can be easily obtained instead of trying to prove that it is a hate crime (Because, lets face it, those boys could have spray painted "queer" because they use that word like some boys use "retard) is actually a good idea.

    The words "queer" and "faggot" were spray painted on a car with a sticker of a lesbian family. So in this case, it seems there was definitely a message. To say that is "harder to stick, especially in this region against sexual orientation," continues to let certain areas appear as if they have lower rates of these kind of crimes than what they actually do. There is currently another case in Texas of a gay couple having hateful words painted on their home. It will be interesting to see if that one is investigated as a hate crime.
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    Oct 05, 2012 4:13 PM GMT
    Iceblink said
    Olandew saidThe actions are deplorable, but I think the prosecutor was right in attempting the case in the manner done. Hate crimes are harder to stick, especially in this region against sexual orientation. So... combining it into a pattern for a felony that can be easily obtained instead of trying to prove that it is a hate crime (Because, lets face it, those boys could have spray painted "queer" because they use that word like some boys use "retard) is actually a good idea.

    The words "queer" and "faggot" were spray painted on a car with a sticker of a lesbian family. So in this case, it seems there was definitely a message. To say that is "harder to stick, especially in this region against sexual orientation," continues to let certain areas appear as if they have lower rates of these kind of crimes than what they actually do. There is currently another case in Texas of a gay couple having hateful words painted on their home. It will be interesting to see if that one is investigated as a hate crime.


    I believe the case of the gay men who had their home vandalized is being treated as a hate crime. And I agree 100% that this one should be treated as a hate crime as well.
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    Oct 05, 2012 4:28 PM GMT
    If it was their only crime would I think it needed to be done as a hate crime. But since they have 13 incidents, including this one will punish them more efficiently.

    But it wasn't. It isn't.
    In fact, it may not even be able to be "hate crime" because of the very fact that there was a string of vandalism. Unless the prosecution could prove that they targeted several of the people for sexual orientation, then the "hate" moniker would not have stuck to begin with because outside of the poor word choice, the defense could argue that they were using the most offensive words they could think of during a prank.

    I am in no way saying what they did was right. I am saying that sometimes it is better to go for the easy victory than the moral high point.

    (By the way, do we have a news article or something? I could not find anything else outside of the facebook post about this.)
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    Oct 05, 2012 4:34 PM GMT
    Olandew saidIf it was their only crime would I think it needed to be done as a hate crime. But since they have 13 incidents, including this one will punish them more efficiently.

    But it wasn't. It isn't.
    In fact, it may not even be able to be "hate crime" because of the very fact that there was a string of vandalism. Unless the prosecution could prove that they targeted several of the people for sexual orientation, then the "hate" moniker would not have stuck to begin with because outside of the poor word choice, the defense could argue that they were using the most offensive words they could think of during a prank.

    I am in no way saying what they did was right. I am saying that sometimes it is better to go for the easy victory than the moral high point.

    (By the way, do we have a news article or something? I could not find anything else outside of the facebook post about this.)


    You'd probably feel differently if someone wrote faggot on your car.
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    Oct 05, 2012 4:39 PM GMT
    I mean they could have at least gotten the slur right... it's dyke not faggot. Duh icon_rolleyes.gif

    I have a sticker on the back of my car that says "Dudes marry dudes get over it." The amount of times I've been flipped off is entertaining and I wouldn't be surprised if one day I wake up and my cars been vandalized. But I like it there and it will stay there for as long as my car can drive.

    Anywho, It should obviously be a hate crime due to the nature of the language written on the car. It's sad that it wasn't and I hope it all gets sorted out for this family. It's sad that people would put hate like that in the world...especially if there's a family involved.
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    Oct 05, 2012 4:40 PM GMT
    why would they even take it as a hate crime its free decoration .to drive arround in pride.
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    Oct 05, 2012 4:41 PM GMT
    HottJoe said

    You'd probably feel differently if someone wrote faggot on your car.


    No... I probably would be perturbed about having to get it cleaned/removed. Not about the word choice. Then again, I also grew up in Texas where faggot was used just as handily as stupid in the schoolyard.

    And evidently, I am just failing at google this morning. Relevant news article covering the incident that says racial slurs, hateful messages, and derogatory images were also painted. What that entails... /shrug

    http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/06/21/4048035/teens-face-charges-over-graffiti.html

    But this is old news.

    Relevant updated story: http://www.dallasvoice.com/arlington-teens-indicted-anti-gay-graffiti-wont-face-hate-crime-enhancement-10127714.html

    Which leads me to believe that they don't have them on camera defacing the Subaru. So while they can pin hate crime on that one, they can't pin that one independently without involving the other 12 cases. At least that is what it looks like.

    From the looks of it, they were going to charge it as a hate crime but decided against it because they cannot make it stick.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 05, 2012 11:24 PM GMT
    That's some bull shit! That is the definition of a hate crime! Shame on them
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    Oct 06, 2012 12:44 AM GMT
    Olandew has an interesting point. I don't like it but maybe that is how the law works best in this case.

    If I get what you're saying: it's that the use of a hate crime charge, even though the hate crime seems targeted upon a specific person, is complicated due to the fact that the vandalism took place as a string of incidents and not as an isolated case, so therefore is it a targeted hate crime even though aspects of a hate crime seem involved or does that then become ancillary but not sufficient.

    in other words, what if during this string of incidents, the vandals painted derogatory terms on a gay person's car, threw pork blood at a Jewish person's home, crushed watermelons onto the sidewalk outside a black person's home, etc. If you took that to it's extreme, is it still a hate crime or do you simply have a typical scene right out of an RJ thread?

    It probably isn't where I'd have gone with that argument but I can see where in such a case dropping the hate aspect could lead to a more sure conviction. I don't like it, but I can see it.
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    Oct 06, 2012 12:50 AM GMT
    If overlooking the hate crime portion gets them a longer sentence, I'm all for it.

    After all, once they've been ass raped in jail for a few months, maybe they'll change their minds. icon_twisted.gif
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    Oct 06, 2012 12:54 AM GMT
    liefericson saidwhy would they even take it as a hate crime its free decoration .to drive arround in pride.