[Hpn] Homeless Murder Brings New Light to Md.'s Hate Crimes Law

William C. Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
Thu, 21 Feb 2008 08:33:22 -0500


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Homeless Murder Brings New Light to Md.'s Hate Crimes Law
February 21, 2008

http://www.wtopnews.com/index.php?nid=3D712&sid=3D1349021


ANNAPOLIS -- Frederick County State Sen. Alex Mooney believes the recent =
murder of a county man is one more reason his bill to add homeless =
people to the state's hate crimes law is needed.

His bill, which he has proposed for the past two years, is sailing =
through the Maryland Senate, but still faces challenges in the House of =
Delegates. A final vote in the Maryland Senate is set for Thursday.

The Senate passed the bill last year, but the House Judiciary Committee =
never voted on it.

"It's the third time, so maybe the third time's the charm," Mooney said =
Tuesday, after the Senate approved the Judicial Proceedings Committee's =
favorable report. The Senate will have a final vote on the measure later =
this week, most likely Thursday.

Under the bill, someone who commits crimes --including defacing private =
property or murder-- because someone is homeless, could be charged =
separately for committing a hate crime.

If it involves a separate felony, the criminal would be guilty of a =
felony and subject to up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. =
If the crime results in a death, then the prison term and fine increase =
to 20 years and $20,000.

For violations not connected to a separate felony, a person guilty of a =
misdemeanor could face up to three years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Delegate Susan K. McComas, a Republican from Harford County, sponsors =
the bill in the House. She said the bill was put on hold during the last =
voting session. McComas is a member of the House Judiciary committee and =
is worried Chairman Joseph F. Vallario Jr. will prevent the bill from =
passing.

"What I want is for it to pass here (in the Senate), and then I'm going =
to start putting the heat on," McComas said.

Vallario is a Democrat representing Calvert and Prince George's =
counties.

McComas said if Maryland protects "homosexuals, people of color and =
transgendered," then they should protect the homeless, who stand out and =
are easily victimized.

In 2006, the last year for which information is available, the National =
Coalition for the Homeless documented 20 deaths and 122 non-lethal =
attacks against homeless people in the U.S.

Mooney said he believes the governor would support the bill, since the =
Department of Human Resources testified in support.

But the Judiciary Committee may prevent the bill from passing again.

Mooney, a Republican, originally proposed the bill as an objection to =
adding sexual orientation to existing hate crimes law. He believes other =
groups should be protected if that group is, and he also suggested =
veterans and others be included.

Democrats did not support his motions to broaden the hate crime law, and =
only after homeless advocates picked up the issue did it start having =
steam.

As Mooney learned more about violence against the homeless, including =
video tapes of "bum fights," he became more convinced that the homeless =
should be included in the hate crimes protections, he said.

Copyright 2008 The Frederick News-Post. All rights reserved.

by mbernhardt@newspost.com (Meg Bernhardt) @ The Frederick News-Post=20

ANNAPOLIS -- Frederick County State Sen. Alex Mooney believes the recent =
murder of a county man is one more reason his bill to add homeless =
people to the state's hate crimes law is needed.

His bill, which he has proposed for the past two years, is sailing =
through the Maryland Senate, but still faces challenges in the House of =
Delegates. A final vote in the Maryland Senate is set for Thursday.

The Senate passed the bill last year, but the House Judiciary Committee =
never voted on it.

"It's the third time, so maybe the third time's the charm," Mooney said =
Tuesday, after the Senate approved the Judicial Proceedings Committee's =
favorable report. The Senate will have a final vote on the measure later =
this week, most likely Thursday.

Under the bill, someone who commits crimes --including defacing private =
property or murder-- because someone is homeless, could be charged =
separately for committing a hate crime.

If it involves a separate felony, the criminal would be guilty of a =
felony and subject to up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. =
If the crime results in a death, then the prison term and fine increase =
to 20 years and $20,000.

For violations not connected to a separate felony, a person guilty of a =
misdemeanor could face up to three years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Delegate Susan K. McComas, a Republican from Harford County, sponsors =
the bill in the House. She said the bill was put on hold during the last =
voting session. McComas is a member of the House Judiciary committee and =
is worried Chairman Joseph F. Vallario Jr. will prevent the bill from =
passing.

"What I want is for it to pass here (in the Senate), and then I'm going =
to start putting the heat on," McComas said.

Vallario is a Democrat representing Calvert and Prince George's =
counties.

McComas said if Maryland protects "homosexuals, people of color and =
transgendered," then they should protect the homeless, who stand out and =
are easily victimized.

In 2006, the last year for which information is available, the National =
Coalition for the Homeless documented 20 deaths and 122 non-lethal =
attacks against homeless people in the U.S.

Mooney said he believes the governor would support the bill, since the =
Department of Human Resources testified in support.

But the Judiciary Committee may prevent the bill from passing again.

Mooney, a Republican, originally proposed the bill as an objection to =
adding sexual orientation to existing hate crimes law. He believes other =
groups should be protected if that group is, and he also suggested =
veterans and others be included.

Democrats did not support his motions to broaden the hate crime law, and =
only after homeless advocates picked up the issue did it start having =
steam.

As Mooney learned more about violence against the homeless, including =
video tapes of "bum fights," he became more convinced that the homeless =
should be included in the hate crimes protections, he said.



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<H1 class=3Dblue>Homeless Murder Brings New Light to Md.'s Hate Crimes =
Law</H1>
<DIV><SPAN class=3Ddate>February 21, 2008</SPAN></DIV>
<DIV><SPAN class=3Ddate></SPAN>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><SPAN class=3Ddate><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2><A=20
href=3D"http://www.wtopnews.com/index.php?nid=3D712&amp;sid=3D1349021">ht=
tp://www.wtopnews.com/index.php?nid=3D712&amp;sid=3D1349021</A></FONT></S=
PAN></DIV>
<DIV><BR></DIV><!-- id: 2acbd1e0355274a07793bc9ba58c66b5 --><!--  -->
<DIV class=3Dprint_pagination>
<P>ANNAPOLIS</A> -- <A class=3Dinform_link title=3D"Frederick County"=20
href=3D"http://www.wtopnews.com/?nid=3D733&amp;inform_keyword=3DFrederick=
+County"><FONT=20
color=3D#29598c>Frederick County</FONT></A> State <A class=3Dinform_link =

title=3D"Alex Mooney"=20
href=3D"http://www.wtopnews.com/?nid=3D733&amp;inform_keyword=3DAlex+Moon=
ey"><FONT=20
color=3D#29598c>Sen. Alex Mooney</FONT></A> believes the recent murder =
of a county=20
man is one more reason his bill to add homeless people to the state's =
hate=20
crimes law is needed.</P>
<P>His bill, which he has proposed for the past two years, is sailing =
through=20
the <A class=3Dinform_link title=3D"Maryland State Senate"=20
href=3D"http://www.wtopnews.com/?nid=3D733&amp;inform_keyword=3DMaryland+=
State+Senate"><FONT=20
color=3D#29598c>Maryland Senate</FONT></A>, but still faces challenges =
in the=20
House of Delegates. A final vote in the Maryland Senate is set for =
Thursday.</P>
<P>The Senate passed the bill last year, but the <A class=3Dinform_link=20
title=3D"U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary"=20
href=3D"http://www.wtopnews.com/?nid=3D733&amp;inform_keyword=3DU.S.+Hous=
e+Committee+on+the+Judiciary"><FONT=20
color=3D#29598c>House Judiciary Committee</FONT></A> never voted on =
it.</P>
<P>"It's the third time, so maybe the third time's the charm," Mooney =
said=20
Tuesday, after the Senate approved the Judicial Proceedings Committee's=20
favorable report. The Senate will have a final vote on the measure later =
this=20
week, most likely Thursday.</P>
<P>Under the bill, someone who commits crimes --including defacing =
private=20
property or murder-- because someone is homeless, could be charged =
separately=20
for committing a hate crime.</P>
<P>If it involves a separate felony, the criminal would be guilty of a =
felony=20
and subject to up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. If the =
crime=20
results in a death, then the prison term and fine increase to 20 years =
and=20
$20,000.</P>
<P>For violations not connected to a separate felony, a person guilty of =
a=20
misdemeanor could face up to three years in prison and a $5,000 =
fine.</P>
<P>Delegate Susan K. McComas, a Republican from <A class=3Dinform_link=20
title=3D"Harford County"=20
href=3D"http://www.wtopnews.com/?nid=3D733&amp;inform_keyword=3DHarford+C=
ounty"><FONT=20
color=3D#29598c>Harford County</FONT></A>, sponsors the bill in the =
House. She=20
said the bill was put on hold during the last voting session. McComas is =
a=20
member of the House Judiciary committee and is worried Chairman Joseph =
F.=20
Vallario Jr. will prevent the bill from passing.</P>
<P>"What I want is for it to pass here (in the Senate), and then I'm =
going to=20
start putting the heat on," McComas said.</P>
<P>Vallario is a Democrat representing Calvert and Prince George's =
counties.</P>
<P>McComas said if <A class=3Dinform_link title=3DMaryland=20
href=3D"http://www.wtopnews.com/?nid=3D733&amp;inform_keyword=3DMaryland"=
><FONT=20
color=3D#29598c>Maryland</FONT></A> protects "homosexuals, people of =
color and=20
transgendered," then they should protect the homeless, who stand out and =
are=20
easily victimized.</P>
<P>In 2006, the last year for which information is available, the =
National=20
Coalition for the Homeless documented 20 deaths and 122 non-lethal =
attacks=20
against homeless people in the <A class=3Dinform_link title=3D"United =
States"=20
href=3D"http://www.wtopnews.com/?nid=3D733&amp;inform_keyword=3DUnited+St=
ates"><FONT=20
color=3D#29598c>U.S.</FONT></A></P>
<P>Mooney said he believes the governor would support the bill, since =
the=20
Department of Human Resources testified in support.</P>
<P>But the <A class=3Dinform_link title=3D"U.S. Senate Committee on the =
Judiciary"=20
href=3D"http://www.wtopnews.com/?nid=3D733&amp;inform_keyword=3DU.S.+Sena=
te+Committee+on+the+Judiciary"><FONT=20
color=3D#29598c>Judiciary Committee</FONT></A> may prevent the bill from =
passing=20
again.</P>
<P>Mooney, a Republican, originally proposed the bill as an objection to =
adding=20
sexual orientation to existing hate crimes law. He believes other groups =
should=20
be protected if that group is, and he also suggested veterans and others =
be=20
included.</P>
<P>Democrats did not support his motions to broaden the hate crime law, =
and only=20
after homeless advocates picked up the issue did it start having =
steam.</P>
<P>As Mooney learned more about violence against the homeless, including =
video=20
tapes of "bum fights," he became more convinced that the homeless should =
be=20
included in the hate crimes protections, he said.</P>
<P>Copyright 2008 <A href=3D"http://www.fredericknewspost.com/">The =
Frederick=20
News-Post</A>. All rights reserved.</P></DIV>
<DIV><SPAN class=3Dnonprint><!-- cc --><SPAN class=3Dcaption2>by=20
mbernhardt@newspost.com (Meg Bernhardt) @ The Frederick News-Post</SPAN> =
</DIV>
<P>
<P>ANNAPOLIS</A> -- <A class=3Dinform_link title=3D"Frederick County"=20
href=3D"http://www.wtopnews.com/?nid=3D733&amp;inform_keyword=3DFrederick=
+County"><FONT=20
color=3D#29598c>Frederick County</FONT></A> State <A class=3Dinform_link =

title=3D"Alex Mooney"=20
href=3D"http://www.wtopnews.com/?nid=3D733&amp;inform_keyword=3DAlex+Moon=
ey"><FONT=20
color=3D#29598c>Sen. Alex Mooney</FONT></A> believes the recent murder =
of a county=20
man is one more reason his bill to add homeless people to the state's =
hate=20
crimes law is needed.</P>
<P>His bill, which he has proposed for the past two years, is sailing =
through=20
the <A class=3Dinform_link title=3D"Maryland State Senate"=20
href=3D"http://www.wtopnews.com/?nid=3D733&amp;inform_keyword=3DMaryland+=
State+Senate"><FONT=20
color=3D#29598c>Maryland Senate</FONT></A>, but still faces challenges =
in the=20
House of Delegates. A final vote in the Maryland Senate is set for =
Thursday.</P>
<P>The Senate passed the bill last year, but the <A class=3Dinform_link=20
title=3D"U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary"=20
href=3D"http://www.wtopnews.com/?nid=3D733&amp;inform_keyword=3DU.S.+Hous=
e+Committee+on+the+Judiciary"><FONT=20
color=3D#29598c>House Judiciary Committee</FONT></A> never voted on =
it.</P>
<P>"It's the third time, so maybe the third time's the charm," Mooney =
said=20
Tuesday, after the Senate approved the Judicial Proceedings Committee's=20
favorable report. The Senate will have a final vote on the measure later =
this=20
week, most likely Thursday.</P>
<P>Under the bill, someone who commits crimes --including defacing =
private=20
property or murder-- because someone is homeless, could be charged =
separately=20
for committing a hate crime.</P>
<P>If it involves a separate felony, the criminal would be guilty of a =
felony=20
and subject to up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. If the =
crime=20
results in a death, then the prison term and fine increase to 20 years =
and=20
$20,000.</P>
<P>For violations not connected to a separate felony, a person guilty of =
a=20
misdemeanor could face up to three years in prison and a $5,000 =
fine.</P>
<P>Delegate Susan K. McComas, a Republican from <A class=3Dinform_link=20
title=3D"Harford County"=20
href=3D"http://www.wtopnews.com/?nid=3D733&amp;inform_keyword=3DHarford+C=
ounty"><FONT=20
color=3D#29598c>Harford County</FONT></A>, sponsors the bill in the =
House. She=20
said the bill was put on hold during the last voting session. McComas is =
a=20
member of the House Judiciary committee and is worried Chairman Joseph =
F.=20
Vallario Jr. will prevent the bill from passing.</P>
<P>"What I want is for it to pass here (in the Senate), and then I'm =
going to=20
start putting the heat on," McComas said.</P>
<P>Vallario is a Democrat representing Calvert and Prince George's =
counties.</P>
<P>McComas said if <A class=3Dinform_link title=3DMaryland=20
href=3D"http://www.wtopnews.com/?nid=3D733&amp;inform_keyword=3DMaryland"=
><FONT=20
color=3D#29598c>Maryland</FONT></A> protects "homosexuals, people of =
color and=20
transgendered," then they should protect the homeless, who stand out and =
are=20
easily victimized.</P>
<P>In 2006, the last year for which information is available, the =
National=20
Coalition for the Homeless documented 20 deaths and 122 non-lethal =
attacks=20
against homeless people in the <A class=3Dinform_link title=3D"United =
States"=20
href=3D"http://www.wtopnews.com/?nid=3D733&amp;inform_keyword=3DUnited+St=
ates"><FONT=20
color=3D#29598c>U.S.</FONT></A></P>
<P>Mooney said he believes the governor would support the bill, since =
the=20
Department of Human Resources testified in support.</P>
<P>But the <A class=3Dinform_link title=3D"U.S. Senate Committee on the =
Judiciary"=20
href=3D"http://www.wtopnews.com/?nid=3D733&amp;inform_keyword=3DU.S.+Sena=
te+Committee+on+the+Judiciary"><FONT=20
color=3D#29598c>Judiciary Committee</FONT></A> may prevent the bill from =
passing=20
again.</P>
<P>Mooney, a Republican, originally proposed the bill as an objection to =
adding=20
sexual orientation to existing hate crimes law. He believes other groups =
should=20
be protected if that group is, and he also suggested veterans and others =
be=20
included.</P>
<P>Democrats did not support his motions to broaden the hate crime law, =
and only=20
after homeless advocates picked up the issue did it start having =
steam.</P>
<P>As Mooney learned more about violence against the homeless, including =
video=20
tapes of "bum fights," he became more convinced that the homeless should =
be=20
included in the hate crimes protections, he said.</P></SPAN>
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