Report: Federal Hate Crime Charges Extraordinarily Rare


The United States is on pace for twelve convictions on federal hate crime charges during fiscal year 2015, according to a report from the Syracuse University Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.

Since federal hate crime legislation was passed in 2009, the government has achieved just 29 convictions, including eight so far during fiscal year 2015. The most achieved during any year was in 2012, when 10 people were convicted on federal hate crime charges.

The report notes that federal prosecutors turn down significantly more hate crime cases than they pursue.

“Prosecutors turned down 235 out of the 270 total hate crime referrals received since the law’s passage in 2009 — a whopping 87.0 percent,” researchers write in the report, which comes as national attention has turned to a federal government considers hate crime charges against Dylann Roof, accuses of killing nine people in a massacre at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.

The three most common reasons federal prosecutors gave for turning down hate crime referrals, according to the report, were insufficient evidence, lack of evidence of criminal intent, and weak or insufficient admissible evidence. These reasons accounted for 55.3 percent of rejected referrals.

Read the full report HERE.

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