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Hate Crimes

The Attorney General maintains Rapid Response Protocol, pdf to assist in the investigation, identification, arrest, prosecution and conviction of those who commit hate crimes. The protocol ensures an immediate deployment of California Department of Justice resources when a hate crime occurs involving serious injury, death or significant destruction of property. Department resources to be made available to assist local and federal law enforcement agencies include: forensic services, intelligence specialists, profilers, criminal and civil rights attorneys, and support for victims of hate crimes.

The Attorney General has available brochures in nine languages on how to identify hate crimes, how to report hate crimes and the services available to victims of hate crimes.

hate crime publication [152KB/33pgs]

The Attorney General also publishes an annual Hate Crime In California Report assessing the number of hate crime events, hate crime offenses, hate crime victims, and hate crime suspects. The 2014 report highlights hate crime trends, including the most common types of hate crimes broken down by protected class, as well as by county and city. The Report puts these statistics in historical perspective by providing trend information on the number and types of hate crimes over the past ten years.

On June 22, 2015, the Attorney General successfully obtained a court order invalidating a proposed ballot measure for the so-called "Sodomite Suppression Act." As the Attorney General has stated, the proposal which "seeks to legalize discrimination and vigilantism," "not only threatens public safety, it is patently unconstitutional, utterly reprehensible, and has no place in a civil society."

In June 2010, the Attorney General prevailed in an action filed by the Attorney General under the Ralph Act (Civ. Code, § 51.7), in a case involving the assault of a Latino man. Following trial, the court found that the defendants, who had used racial and ethnic epithets during their assault, had violated the Ralph Act because their bias against the victim was a substantial factor in the assault. The Attorney General obtained substantial civil penalties for the victim, as well as attorneys' fees and costs against the defendants.

On August 9, 2002, the Attorney General filed an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court in Virginia v. Black supporting the constitutionality of Virginia's "anti-cross-burning" statute, which prohibited the burning of a cross on public or private property, if done with the intent to intimidate any person. On April 7, 2003, the Supreme Court issued its decision, holding that a state statute that prohibits cross burning committed with the intent to intimidate does not violate the First Amendment. This holding is consistent with the position advanced in the Attorney General's brief. However, the Court also held that Virginia's statute is unconstitutional because it contains a provision that treats any cross-burning as prima facie evidence of intent to intimidate.

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