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Hate Crime

Can I be Sued for a Hate Crime in Massachusetts?

You can be sued for a hate crime in Massachusetts. What I mean by that is, if that hate crime caused another person damage, such as malicious destruction of their property, or assault and battery, that type of thing, than absolutely. The so-called victim can bring a civil complaint and sue you for the damages they sustained. That fact that it's based on a hate crime is going to raise what they're going to look for, because a hate crime is going to be an aggravated circumstance that a jury and judge is not going to like.

How Does a Hate Crime Accusation Raise the Stakes in an Assault Case?

In Massachusetts, we are very concerned about hate crimes. People are extremely sensitive to those hate crimes, be it a hatred based on gender, race, sexual orientation, what have you. As a result, those cases are first of all going to get more publicity. And second of all be treated more harshly, in the courts. It's going to be tougher, even in a regular assault case for example, you might be able to get it, the case dismissed, or get a plea bargain where there's no jail. Well, if it's a hate crime, particularly because of the public exposure, the prosecutor's going to be very reluctant, as is the judge, to give any kind of leniency.

What Constitutes a Hate Crime in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, any crime can be elevated to a hate crime, if the circumstances surrounding the offense merit it. In other words, if there is an assault case or a malicious destruction of property, or it is done based on hatred or race, gender, sexual orientation, that type of thing, is going to be probably prosecuted as a hate crime. As a result, the sentence involved, if there is a conviction in the case, is going to be stiffer.

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