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State looks to crack down on hate crimes

Connecticut residents know that there are strong laws against crimes considered to be hate crimes. These include a variety of actions that are generally violent or threatening and are based upon some type of discrimination or prejudice. The state of Connecticut is looking to institute new legislation around these hate crime offenses.

There are already laws in place in Connecticut surrounding hate crimes but a new bill that has recently passed a legislative committee wants to increase penalties and expand the types of actions that are covered. One of the proposed changes is a mandatory minimum financial penalty for anyone convicted of a hate crime. In the current law, hate crimes based upon a person's gender expression or identity are covered but not gender. The new law seeks to add gender as a factor.

Currently any hate crime action against a group of people versus against an individual is considered a misdemeanor. The new law would bump those actions up to felony offenses, thereby increasing the associated penalties. Consequences would also be increased for any hate crime involving some type of violent threat such as a bomb threats involving religious facilities or daycare centers. The new bill is said to be going to the House of Representatives as its next stop.

Anyone accused of a hate crime might want to reach out to a lawyer to learn about current and evolving laws in order to make proper decisions about a defense.

Source: Hartford Courant, "Bill Increasing Penalties For Hate Crimes Clears Key Committee," Daniela Altimari, April 3, 2017

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