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Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Act Essay

‘Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Act’


            ‘Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes act’ is a federal law against hate crimes which was passed in 2009 after two ruthless preference motivated crimes of murder of James Byrd Junior., an African American man in 1998 and murder of a student Matthew Shepard in the same year.

            The key provisions of this act or law were:- Removal of the requirement that the victim be engaging in a federally secure action, like voting or being educated in a school, Giving federal authorities better capacity to engage in hate crimes investigations that local authorities choose not to pursue, Provides 5 million USD every year in financing for fiscal years 2010 through 2012 to help national and native agencies pay for prosecuting and investigating hate crimes, Requires the Federal Bureau for Investigations(FBI) to make sure they check statistics on hatred criminalities established on gender identity and gender (statistics for any other groups were already tracked) in Texas and other states. (Jones-Brown, In Frazier, & In Brooks, 2014).

            Advantages of hate crime laws

            These laws will make the public vigilant that the group is defenseless, has been broadly victimized in the earlier and there is need of protection. The crime which is based on this law is not directed basically against one person but it is projected to intimidate and target the victim’s whole group so the law is fair. The law would guard persons of all sexual orientations. More so it will not limit freedom of speech because it cannot be applied before the criminal act happen. (Jacobs & Potter, 1998).

            Disadvantages of hate crime laws

            Some of its parts are unfair since there is consideration of people identically meaning they depend on some characteristics such as gender or maybe disability. The laws will increase federal government of Texas participation in law enforcement and this will bring some imbalance in the governing. In addition the laws covers all crimes which are already illegal under the existing state and local laws. (Jacobs & Potter, 1998).Hate crimes laws are still existing even today because the rate of hate crimes has now reduced compared to the time when the law has not been enacted. However even its provision are very tough and this have brought frustration to the public thus reducing the crimes. These laws are also taking a big responsibility in protecting every kind of person in the society in terms of color, religion, gender identity and sexual orientation.


Crooks, R., & Baur, K. (2011). Our sexuality. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.

In Jones-Brown, D. D., In Frazier, B. D., & In Brooks, M. (2014). African Americans and criminal justice: An encyclopedia.

Jacobs, J. B., & Potter, K. (1998). Hate crimes: Criminal law & identity politics. New York: Oxford University Press.

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