Reading Man who threw boiling water on gay couple will spend 40 years in prison:

The jury deliberated for about 90 minutes Wednesday before finding Martin Blackwell guilty of eight counts of aggravated battery and two counts of aggravated assault, according to the Associated Press.

[ ... ]

The 48-year-old wasn’t charged with a hate crime because Georgia is one of five states that do not have hate crime statutes. An FBI spokesman told Reuters that federal investigators are considering whether to charge Blackwell with a federal hate crime.

(emphasis mine)


Why does the state of Georgia not have a hate crime statute?

Note: The answer would specify any statements made by representatives on why or any attempts to put in place a statute that didn't pass (or both)

1 Answer 1


Georgia passed hate crime legislation in 2000 under Democratic governor Roy Barnes, but it was struck down by the Georgia Supreme Court in 2004:

The Georgia Supreme Court unanimously struck down the state's hate crimes law Monday, saying the measure is so broadly worded that it could be used to prosecute a sports fan for picking on somebody wearing a rival team's cap.

The 7 to 0 ruling came in the case of a white man and a white woman convicted of beating two black men in Atlanta.

It was the first application of the 2000 law, which called for as many as five extra years in prison for crimes in which the victim is chosen because of "bias or prejudice."

Forty-eight states have hate crimes laws; Georgia's was the only one not specifying which groups qualified for protection.

According to this "Times of Israel" article:

Subsequent efforts to pass a constitutional law have stumbled in the legislature, usually over the inclusion of crimes against LGBTQ people.

So the original law was struck down because it didn't specify who exactly it was protecting, and subsequent attempts have failed because the legislature couldn't agree on that list.

  • who is the other outlier?
    – user9389
    May 5, 2017 at 15:21
  • 1
    @notstoreboughtdirt It seems that 2004 article is out of date, this wiki page says that Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina, and Wyoming don't have hate crime statutes.
    – BradC
    May 5, 2017 at 15:26

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