Two Maryland Women Charged With Hate Crime For Burning Trump Sign

The two teenage girls in Maryland have been charged with hate crimes after they lit a Trump sign on fire.  The novel charge is based on the prosecutors treating Trump supporters as the protected group. It is quite a stretch from the conventional hate crime. The very notion of a hate crime has been criticized by civil libertarians as raising free speech and double jeopardy concerns.

The two teenage girls are accused of lighting a “Make America Great Again” sign on fire in Princess Anne, Md.  A surveillance video caught an image of the suspect and her vehicle. They later arrested D’Asia R. Perry, 19, at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.  Also arrested was Joy M. Shuford, 19, of Owings Mills, Md.

The two women were accused of a hate crime on the basis that the arson was committed with “discrimination or malice toward a particular group, or someone’s belief.”

The interpretation given to the statute would allow a major expansion of hate crime laws whenever a crime was triggered or motivated by political disagreements.

What do you think?

51 thoughts on “Two Maryland Women Charged With Hate Crime For Burning Trump Sign”

  1. When effigies of Obama were being desecrated – no hate crime indictments – just silence!

  2. Looks like Maryland recognizes political affiliation as a protected class for purposes of employment and housing discrimination, which seems fair, but the hate crime statute lists specific classes for its protection and politics isn’t on the list.

    I’m not a fan of hate crime laws, but assuming their validity, Maryland can absolutely legislate to include political affiliation as a class protected by such a law (they shouldn’t, because they’d be overcriminalizing already-illegal behavior).

    But they didn’t, and now it’s too late.

  3. In many disciplines, there is an oft occurring pitfall of opening up something that looks simple, like a man hole cover, but which turns out to be incredibly complex, like the subterranean maze just below. Can of worms is perhaps more succinct.

    The whole notion of a Hate Crime, and even more, how to deal with it, falls into this category. My tendency is to side with those who suggest that a hate crime is really a thought crime, meaning something that simply shouldn’t be legislated, that should always remain outside of governmental (and often religious) control for such control is always arbitrary by someone’s measure. That’s an attractive choice because it greatly facilitates consistency, and at least seemingly reduces misuse by allowing all use, removing all control, regardless.

    And for the most part, that really is quite agreeable or workable. If there is to be any such control at all, leave it to social control, the notion that a community instills in it’s young certain values that provide guidance for such things and suffers the appropriate level of social disapprobation for infractions.

    Yet, as is so often the case, this approach also has significant weaknesses, but the solutions are never clear. On the contrary, they are always easy to find fault with. One such weakness is the phenomenon of pathological mass movements, often started by some initially small group, such as as the Third Reich or by historical forces such as the Ku Klux Kla, which can overwhelm social norms and the society that created them. Such ideas and conditioning can spread like cancer until traditional social norms are simply brushed aside. And in such circumstances a whole society can be consumed by a form of hate speech.

    A significant problem with no easy solution.

  4. Wow. I’m gonna burn me a boatload of Trump signs. Can’t wait. Arrest me. Might crap on a bible while I’m at it, too, also.

  5. Over reach. Then again 45% of all hate crime prosecutions are over reach.

  6. This is nuts. Evidently, the govt. is mandating political groups as oppressed? Further, one must have “belief” in the leader?

    Whatever one thinks of a hate crime this isn’t one.

    The govt. is fomenting hatred among people. It is making up “laws”. This is a danger to our freedom, not two young women burning a Trump sign.

  7. I applaud Maryland for taking a tough stance on civility. I would rather the law go in the direction of outlawing “free speech vandalism”, attacks having the result of repurposing or impeding the legal communication of any point of view protected by the 1st Amendment.

    Hate crimes are something I associate with intentional targeting of a victim based on racial prejudice, such as brandishing a noose. A hate-crime murder for example was the wanton murder of “a black man” by the latino street gang as an initiation rite, resulting in the murder of Jamiel Shaw Jr. The gang expressed their racial hatred of blacks in the way they defined initiation into the gang. That depraved mindset is why we have the hate crime add-on. But, does it apply in the case of burning some political signage? Hard to prove.

  8. Easeir than voting? I have no problem with that as long as it was their bought and paid for sign and did not endanger proprty and they had burn permit.

      1. No, not unless they owned the sign. If they didn’t own the sign, then they could legitimately be charged with destruction of property–but not with a hate crime.

      2. Yeah, because normal people can’t be allowed free speech – unless it is the officially approved speech.

        You fascists really are something, aren’t you?

  9. So does this now qualify Trump supporters as intellectually disabled?

    I can’t find any of the usual protected group parameters that are consistent across the board with his peeps to go by.

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