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?

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

  1. I suspect that the defendants gave the police and the DAs some attitude and are now being taught a lesson about respect for authority. Does race play a part? Sure. If a couple of white boys did that, they would be sent to counseling.

    • Counseling? White Boys sent to counseling? I don’t think so. I think that WHITE BOYS would have been locked up for arson just like BLACK BOYS/GIRLS should be locked up for burning stuff that doesn’t belong to them and being emboldened by their Black Lives Matter Criminals. I have no patience with these young women or men of any color destroying other people’s property. They don’t like the message…tough. I didn’t like “I”m with her” but I didn’t go around burning my neighbors signs down. If one of these thugs gets on my property and starts to mess with my yard sign, they would have been looking at the end of my shotgun until the police arrived. And yea, I”m WHITE!

      • Slowly reread the question at issue. The question presented pertains specifically to whether the offense merits designation as a “hate crime.” No one has yet implied that the suspects didn’t commit a criminal offense or that they should not be charged. You may want to vent your contribution on reddit if this concept is unreachable for you. This is meant for Elise.

  2. I have always been conflicted about hate crimes. To be fair, hate crimes should be applied equally. So that means that hate crimes by African Americans against Caucasians should be prosecuted as equally as the reverse. And technically, trying to terrorize any group for political beliefs would also qualify. (The implications for universities would be fun to contemplate. After spending all that effort investing in safe spaces and self segregation, we could really tie them up in knots by adding political beliefs to the definition of the protected class. Fun thought exercise, but I would not prefer that route.)

    On the other hand, hate crime laws were put on the books to defend minorities against the very real threat of violence from the KKK, and similar racist terrorist groups.

    So do we apply hate crimes equally, or have we reached the point where we no longer need to add this on to sentencing? In that case, it would be vandalism and arson.

    I am also curious if lighting a sign on fire was the extent of their shenanigans. Did they follow that up with “you’re next?” Or any threat of violence against the homeowner? If not, then it’s overcharged. I hate to admit that, however, because it’s a relief to finally see some protections against the bullying of conservatives. But it doesn’t seem like a fair punishment to fit the prank nature of the crime.

    • I am with you on that. Remember when W was pilloried for not signing Hate Crime legislation in Texas after the dragging death of James Byrd?
      Then governor Bush pointed out that 2 of the 3 were sentenced to death and the third got life without parole but that wasn’t enough for the NAACP.

      • And the follow-up question to him was concerning stronger punishment for the crime if it were a hate crime. He gave the interviewer a “Tucker Carson” look, and said “the guy was executed. what do you want? We should execute him again??”

        • Ha ha ha. The legislature inserts a line of text in the state penal code. In the case of ‘hate crimes’, the orifice through which the prosecutorial-discretion vehicle can pass is about a mile wide.

  3. I don’t believe in hate crimes, because they are designed to punish thought instead of action. Moreover, they are applied in a discriminatory fashion, further undermining their legitimacy. As to these young women, they should be charged with arson, and then allowed to plea down to malicious mischief if they agree to community service. They are young and a foolish act like this should not destroy their future career and educational prospects. The hate crime charge is inappropriate. There was no group of people intimidated by their actions. Were Trump supporters intimidated and afraid to go to the polls because some teens set a yard sign on fire? Clearly not. I think the HC enhancement is over-charging and will soon be dropped.

  4. Well since the crime falls short on the key: of race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability.
    How could this be more then a joke. I would argue the hate crime is the prosecution going after two African American girls because of race. How many Caucasians have lit Trump’s sign on fire and nothing happened. Now Trump mocking a disabiled reporter or having his supporters attack AA people at his rallies, would be closer to a hate crime.

  5. I have a problem with hate crimes, but as long as they exist, they should be applied equally. This fits the case. The right jury, these girls are toast.

  6. Hate crimes – those in which victims from an exclusive class of humans are treated as more valuable than victims not included in the class.

    • It’s not Orwellian. It’s a grotesque example of haut bourgeois status signalling being incorporated into the penal codes where it certainly does not belong.

  7. Many crimes, happening in an ongoing manner throughout every society, include hate. Rarely does someone murder someone without hating them. The girls should be prosecuted for trespass and property damage, with a possible arson charge if a threat of fire to surrounding property and/or people can be determined. Regarding the Trump part, he will eventually burn in Hell so is not a necessary part of the prosecution’s case.

  8. All hate crime laws are a huge mistake. They basically create thought crimes. Hate crime laws are basically legislative bigotry and create prejudice by favoring only one side of an issue.

    For example, if someone has a sign that says Homosexuality is Evil, that is logged as a hate crime. But if the role is reversed, no hate crime. If someone has a sign saying that Religion is Evil, or Religion promotes War, or Religion promotes Homophobia, these are not labeled hate crimes. If a gay person starts a fight with a straight person, that is not a hate crime, but in the opposite case where a straight person starts a fight with a gay person, that is a hate crime.

    The only way for the law to apply to everyone equally is to get rid of laws that favor certain groups. There should be no hate crime laws. There should be no anti-discrimination laws. Only evil actions should constitute crimes. Leave immoral motivations and immoral thoughts for religions and counselors to deal with. Civil laws should punish actions only, not thoughts or motivations. Hate is immoral but should not constitute a crime. Murder should be considered both immoral and a crime.

    • Excellent post David!

      I saw that Paul Schulte commented upthread the more progressive approach, that as long as hate crime laws exist they should be applied equally. Isn’t that special? Don’t fight for laws to be just; fight for equal justice OR equal injustice.

  9. Maybe mindlessly screaming, chanting ‘Lock her up!’ should also be considered a hate crime. trump and trumpcult inciting violence against trump protesters. Nothing to see there. Or maybe claiming that the Clintons are running a pedophile ring out of a pizza parlor is a hate crime. No, that’s the normal course for white nationalists and trumpsters. Burn a trump sign. Arrest those black women!

  10. This is an unconstitutional restriction of speech. See Texas v Johnson regarding flag burning, in which both Scalia and Kennedy joined the majority opinion.

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