Last weekend, The New York Times Magazine featured a story about White Nationalism and hate crimes in America. The cover photo listed scores of such crimes since June of 2015; including the most recent race or religion-related mass murders, such as the Tree of Life massacre.
On November 13, The Washington Post published a complimentary story citing FBI data that indicates that for the third year there was an increase in hate crimes. There was a 17 percent rise just last year alone; the report shows that the most significant jump involves anti-Semitic attacks – like the recent synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh.
In 2017, we wrote about an effort to address hate crimes in California. California Assembly Bill 39 would have created a California Hate Crimes Registry, but the bill died in committee.
Hate Crimes In California
While hate crimes may appear to be rare and isolated events to most people, including those living in a progressive state like California, the data does not lie. Even in affluent communities like those located in Orange County, there are victims of such types of killings. In January 2018, a Newport Beach man allegedly murdered his former classmate because of the victim’s sexual orientation. Samuel Woodward, 21, is believed to have killed Blaze Bernstein for being gay.
Last week, Orange County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Menninger stripped Woodward of his right to bail, The Los Angeles Times reports. Despite the pleas from Woodward’s defense attorney, Judge Menninger said, “I do believe it would be a danger to others in the community, based on preliminary hearing transcripts.”
The defendant has pleaded not guilty. If found guilty, the hate crime enhancement means he could face a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole. According to the article, Woodward is scheduled to return to court January 25, 2019.
Orange County Criminal Defense
If you or a loved one need legal assistance in California, please contact The Law Office of Ronald G. Brower. Bringing decades of experience to the table, Attorney Brower is fully equipped to advocate for you or your family.