Some groups refer to it as the Matthew Shepard Act while others like to call it the Local Law enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (LLEHCPA). Both titles refer to a piece of legislation that was designed to protect members of certain communities that may be targets of hate based crime. The paper will look into the details of the Act, the motivations for passing the Act and other details surrounding its implementation. This Act was passed in order to give the Department of Justice the mandate to deal with cases involving violence that is motivated by certain biases.
Usually, these are the types of crimes that are committed on the basis of disability, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, color, perceived or actual race. The Justice Department is given the mandate to either work hand in hand with local jurisdictions in cases where that respective group does not display that they actually have the ability to deal with this or in order to assist state jurisdictions. This Department is supposed to have an upper hand in the process prosecuting and investigating cases caused by such biases.
(Anti Defamation League, 2008) Through this Act, local governments are also empowered to deal with the latter category of crimes if they have been committed by juveniles. This is possible through grants that are meant to assist in the process of training law enforcement officers here or during the process of prosecuting such officers. Reasons behind the LLEHCPA The reason behind the passage of this Act was that violent crimes generally demand special attention.
However, because of the overall effect of hate crimes, then there is a need for special legislation in this area. Not only do hate crimes cause physical injury, but they also create scenarios in which different groups in society are divided. It breaks down the fabric of society by making certain communities full of fear. Such types of violence are not just motivated by financial needs; they are usually done in order to tell members of that chosen community that they will not be accepted by that society.
Additionally, when a person is a victim of bias motivated crime, then chances are that they will feel unprotected by their society; they may also fell sidelined and particularly vulnerable. (ADL, 2007) This Act came against the backdrop of crime Statistics released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In the year before the passage of this Act, it was found that the greatest percentage of hate based crimes were against the individuals with different races. The second highest category was those crimes motivated by religious differences and the third category was against people with different sexual orientations.
Overly, these statistics revealed that there was still much that had to be done to combat hate crimes thus propelling legislators to act against such biases. The importance of the Local law enforcement hate crimes prevention act This Act is important in ascertaining that state and local authorities have been given the power to deal with these bias motivated crimes. Federal groups are incorporated in dealing with these crimes in order to reinforce justice and effectiveness through greater expertise in investigative processes.
Additionally, federal authorities’ involvement is meant to relieve local authorities from being overburdened by these types of cases. (Stout, 2007) The reason behind increasing support for this legislation by certain interest groups is the capacity and the levels of hate crimes committed against certain individuals in society. This is particularly the case for certain categories of people who had not yet been included in the federal hate crimes laws. These groups included; Disability Sexual orientation Gender identity Gender