Hate Crime Laws

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Many people say they agree the old hate crime laws needed to go, but there are differing views on what should happen next.

The Georgia Supreme Court says the state's current hate crime laws must be thrown out because they are not specific enough, meaning they could be applied to almost any crime.

Advocates say changes need to be made so the hate crime laws actually have a positive effect on the Peach State.

Frank Morman, who supports the court ruling, says, "I think it was a good decision on the part of the court for many reasons. Primarily, I agree the original law was too broad. This gives the Legislature an opportunity to go back and be more specific and address those traditional areas of hate crimes."

While local prosecuting attorneys agree with dumping the old hate crime laws, some feel readdressing the issue is not needed.

J. David Miller, District Attorney, says, "It may look good in the news for politicians to try and pass new hate crime laws and it's going to be an additional penalty, but the criminals know they're just going to serve a fraction. You know, let's take some of the hypocrisy out of it. If you want to get tough on crimes, then let's talk about them serving the sentence that's imposed by the court."

Others have a different message to Georgia state lawmakers.

Morman adds, "My message to Georgia lawmakers would be to focus on what a hate crime really is and be more specific in those and areas they address."

Georgia lawmakers will not get a chance to readdress the hate crime issues until the General Assembly meets in January.