Articles Posted in 1st Amendment

Lady Justice Georgia’s New Hate Crime Legislation

Georgia recently passed a new Hate Crimes Bill.  The new legislation imposes additional sentencing on a criminal defendant who commits a crime of hate based upon race, sex, sexual orientation, color, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability.  Georgia had passed a hate crime bill back in 2004 that was stuck down as Unconstitutional for being too broad and vague.

The New Hate Crimes Bill increases the punishment for those convicted under the Statute.  A criminal defendant convicted under the new law would face an additional six-to-twelve months in prison and a fine up to $5,000 for a variety of misdemeanor offenses.  For a felony offense prison sentences are increased to at least two-years in jail.

Video recording the police making an arrest has resulted in many citizens being arrested for obstruction. In most cases, individuals were charged with misdemeanors that were eventually dismissed. In the state of Illinois it was a felony if the microphone was turned on while recording. The U.S. Supreme Court recently refused to review a federal appeals court decision finding that videotaping the police making an arrest was unconstitutional. The federal court held it violated 1st amendment free speech and free press guarantees.
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