Hate Crimes

* While Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts made a plea to keep funding for the federal judiciary intact, we learned that student loan default cases have fallen since 2011. You really gotta love that income-based repayment. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* Introducing the Asia 50, a list of the largest firms in the Asia-Pacific region. When it comes to the firms with the biggest footprints, only one American Biglaw shop made the cut. Go ahead and take a wild guess on which one it was. [Asian Lawyer]

* Congratulations are in order, because after almost a year of stalling, Arnold & Porter partner William Baer was finally confirmed by the Senate as the chief of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. [Bloomberg]

* Our elected officials might not have allowed the country to fall off the fiscal cliff, but the American Invents Act was put on hold, so if you’re a patent nerd, you can still be mad about something. [National Law Journal]

* Remember when Rutgers-Camden Law said “many top students” were making bank after graduation? Yeah, about that: Law School Transparency just filed an ABA complaint. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Here are some law school trends to look out for in 2013. FYI, the applicant pool is smaller because no one wants to foolishly gamble on their careers anymore. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

* In the latest NYC subway shoving death, a woman was charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime, and allegedly bragged about other hate crimes she’s committed to police. Lovely. [New York Times]

* Next time you’re trapped on a plane that’s literally filled with other people’s crap for 11 hours, don’t bother suing over your hellish experience — you’re going to be preempted by federal law. [New York Law Journal]

Sometimes bad things happen on campus and the administration tries to cover it up and pretend like everything is swell and ugliness does not exist.

This is not one of those times.

At the University of Florida Levin College of Law, a law professor appears to have been the victim of a hate crime. Upon learning of the issue, the dean of the law school condemned the action in the strongest language possible and asked any student with knowledge of the events to come forward and inform the authorities.

It’s really the only appropriate response for a school to have in a situation like this…

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Members of the University of Illinois College of Law community received sad and disturbing news yesterday when they learned that a faculty member at the law school was the victim of an apparent hate crime.

The law professor (who remains anonymous at the request of the University) was found on the second floor of the Illinois Terminal on Wednesday.

University president Michael Hogan assured students and faculty that the alleged attack was made by a person who is not affiliated with the university….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Hate Crime Suspected In Stabbing of Law Professor”

I’m on record as being somewhat uncomfortable with hate crimes legislation. I’m just not wild about the government punishing people for what’s in their thoughts. But I do see why society might want to make racial animus an aggravating factor in crimes.

It’s complicated, and that makes me think that prosecutors should show some flex when it comes to slapping a hate crime designation on top of a crime. But reasonable people will disagree, and I get that.

What I don’t get is how any rational human being could legitimately think that a small child is guilty of a “hate crime.” I don’t even see how a 6th grader — an 11-year-old kid — has the mens rea to commit a hate crime. Eleven-year-olds don’t commit hate crimes, they throw temper tantrums.

But New York City is going to try to stick a hate crime on a little kid from Staten Island…

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Molly Wei didn't stop her friend for using her computer; now she could end up in jail.

Prosecutors looking into Tyler Clementi suicide indicated yesterday that they might not be able to charge Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei with a hate crime. Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan told the Newark Star-Ledger that his office was trying to see if they could charge Ravi and Wei with a second degree bias crime, but so far they don’t have enough evidence to support such a charge.

Right now, Ravi and Wei are charged with invasion of privacy, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in jail.

Given that some people have pushed for prosecution that goes all the way up to homicide charges, the possibility that Ravi and Wei won’t be charged with a hate crime (or burned at the stake, or whatever the hell will satisfy people’s revenge impulse) will disappoint many — perhaps including prosecutor Kaplan, who said: “Sometimes the laws don’t always adequately address the situation. That may come to pass here.”

And sometimes the public’s outrage completely outstrips the actual crime committed. I’ve already shared my thoughts about Dharun Ravi’s crime. Now let’s take a closer look at Molly Wei — a girl who, as far as we know, is guilty of letting a high school buddy use her computer…

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