July 25, 2005
Written by C.N.
From Angry Asian Man (one of my favorite sites), here’s a news release from the Asian Pacific American Legal Center about new hate crimes legislation in California, inspired by recent crimes committed against Asian Americans in the state:
Hate Crimes Civil Remedies Act to Provide Justice for Hate Crime Victims Passes Senate Floor
LOS ANGELES – On Monday, July 11, 2005, AB 378, the Hate Crime Civil Remedies Act, authored by Assembly Member Judy Chu, passed the California State Senate with a vote of 23-12. Co-sponsored by CAA/Center for Asian American Advocacy, Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), Asian Law Caucus, and Asian Americans for Civil Rights and Equality, a collaborative project of the three organizations, AB 378 provides justice for hate crime victims by extending the time limit for which they can file a civil suit for a $25,000 civil penalty from one year to three years.
AB 378 was inspired by a 2003 case in San Francisco where five Asian American teens were brutally attacked by a mob of approximately 20 white youth while celebrating their impending high school graduation. The five teens were accosted with racial slurs and chased down by their attackers as they tried to flee the scene. Although three attackers were caught at the scene, only one attacker was identified and charged with a crime. Even then, it took one year to bring that perpetrator to trial. It was only at trial that the identity of the other attackers came to light.
Unfortunately, the lengthy process of identifying hate crime perpetrators and concluding a criminal trial creates obstacles that prevent hate crime victims from seeking meaningful civil remedies. Victims are advised not to file civil suits until the criminal case has concluded since civil suits can negatively affect the outcome of the criminal trial. The unfortunate consequence, though, is that many victims find themselves beyond the statute of limitation to file a civil lawsuit once the criminal trial has ended.
“AB 378 will give hate crime victims a fair opportunity to seek civil remedies,” stated Assembly Member Judy Chu. “Victims should not be forced to choose between seeking criminal justice or civil redress. My bill, AB 378 will allow adequate time for hate crime perpetrators to be identified and for the criminal trial to conclude prior to the victim’s loss of their rights to file a civil suit.”
“Hate crimes strike fear in our communities,” stated Stewart Kwoh, President and Executive Director of APALC. “As a society, we cannot tolerate hate crimes, which assail not only the individual victim, but all members of the community. We all have a stake in providing meaningful justice for hate crime victims.”
“Despite the dialogue and achievements of the civil rights movement, many Californians continue to be violently targeted based on their race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation,” cited Luna Yasui, acting Executive Director of CAA. “The civil penalty is a statement of our society’s opposition to these types of crimes, and AB 378 makes it meaningful by allowing more time for victims to seek it.”
“The broad-based coalition of supporters is a sign of the public sentiment to improve justice for hate crime victims. We want to thank Assembly Member Judy Chu and her staff for their tremendous leadership in addressing hate crime issues,” said Phil Ting, Executive Director of Asian Law Caucus.
Next, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will determine whether to sign AB 378 into law.
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "New Hate Crime Bill in CA" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2005/07/new-hate-crime-bill-in-ca/> ().
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