Diana M. Torres


In a recent article, Susan Gellman of the Ohio bar provides perhaps the clearest and most persuasive arguments against these statutes both on constitutional and policy grounds. 5 This paper is, in many respects, a response to her arguments. It will first briefly discuss the need for bias crime legislation. It will then address the various forms of such statutes and respond to the constitutional objections of vagueness, overbreadth and infringement on free speech as set forth in Gellman's article. The paper will analogize the statutes to civil rights and anti-discrimination legislation and the principles behind sentencing discretion. Finally, the paper will conclude that, with proper drafting and tailoring, the statutes can be justified by a compelling state interest.