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Paul D. Cramm

Kansas crime on hate crimes sets off alarms


A short discussion took place during the news conference announcing charges against the anti-Semite accused of murdering 3 area residents.

Is there any hate crime law in Kansas? The comment by prosecutors was news for Sen. David Haley and Alvin Sykes. Sen. David Haley who had struggled for many years to get such civil rights measures approved by the Kansas Legislature. Alvin Sykes is an activist well versed in legal codes, he works with local and federal authorities on bias crimes.

There are hate crime laws in Kansas; only one thing that should be understood is the difference between hate-crime laws and statutes to increase sentencing.

In 2009, the laws related to enhance sentencing were approved by Kansas permitting for an increase in more time behind bars if any individual uses bias as a motivation to commit a crime.

On Tuesday, Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe and U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said a hate-crime charge in the deaths at the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom might still be forthcoming but through federal charges.

One difficulty of hate-crime laws can be the high legal standards, according to the Sykes. Some call for proving not only that a murder had happened but at the same time that bias was the motivation. If reasonable doubt exists on anyone of them, the whole case can collapse.

It is better for a person to get the conviction and then offer the judge or jury the ability to upgrade the sentence if the crime had been motivated by hate.

In the murder case of William Lewis Corporon, his grandson Reat Underwood and Terri LaManno, higher penalties are the main reason. The accused faces one count of capital murder that carries a life sentence without parole and a first-degree murder charge with no parole for 25 years. The Kansas death penalty is also still an option.

Haley and Sykes are looking at existing Kansas laws that whether they are strong enough in regards to lower-level crimes, the sort of vandalism and assaults that make up the majority of hate crimes. In those cases when the crimes are misdemeanors, it might be wise to increase the penalty if hate was the motive of the crime. But it is clear that this white supremacist acted out of long-held hatred of Jewish individuals. Another thing is clear too that if a person is convicted, he will never take another single breath as a free man.

News Source: www.KansasCity.com

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About the Author

This practice has been exclusively devoted to all levels of criminal defense from misdemeanor offenses in municipal court to felony matters in the Federal courts of Kansas and the Western District of Missouri. Paul D. Cramm is qualified to provide defense in Capital and Death Penalty cases.

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