Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1997

Publication Citation

2 Michigan Journal of Race and Law 421 (1997)

Abstract

Much of the scholarly debate about hate crime laws focuses on a discussion of their constitutionality under the First Amendment. Part of larger empirical study of police methods of investigating hate crimes, this Note attempts to shift thinking in this area beyond the existing debate over the constitutionality of hate crime legislation to a discussion of how low-level criminal justice personnel, such as the police, enforce hate crime laws. This Note argues that, since hate crimes are an area in which police have great discretion in enforcing the law, their understanding of the First Amendment and how it relates to their job is important to the impact that hate crime legislation has in the community. Additionally, research on the enforcement of hate crime laws may inspire further investigation of the broad discretion police officers currently possess in all areas of law.