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Council wants von Brunn Charged with Hate Crimes

An overwhelming majority of D.C. Council members got behind a resolution today calling on federal prosecutors to charge James W. von Brunn with violating the city's hate crime statue in addition to his federal charges.

Federal prosecutors have charged von Brunn, the 88-year-old white supremacist accused of killing a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial, with first-degree murder and weapons charges. Authorities have not yet decided on whether to also charge him with a federal hates crimes violation.

At this morning's council meeting, Council members noted there is nothing preventing prosecutors from also charging von Brunn with local crimes. Council member Michael Brown (I-At large) introduced a resolution calling on prosecutors to charge him with the violating the District's hate-crimes law.

"We as a country and city cannot and should not tolerate this," Brown said.

In the District, the so-called "bias-related crime" act currently prohibits prejudice based on the "actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, family responsibility, physical handicap, matriculation, or political affiliation of a victim." A violator can be charged up to one and half times the maximum penalty for the crime committed during the act of violence.

The resolution, which the Council will take up a later date, also calls on Congress to approve the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act adding sexual orientation to the federal hate crimes law

"This is an important statement from the Council," said Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At large), a cosponsor. "One, the federal hate crimes law needs to be expanded. Second, if we have our own hate crimes law, it ought to be enforced."

However, von Brunn could face harsher justice because he is being charged by federal
authorities instead of local prosecutors. He could be eligible for capital punishment if he is convicted of his federal charges. But capital punishment is banned for local charges under D.C. law.

--Tim Craig

By Tim Craig  |  June 16, 2009; 11:19 AM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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Comments

Could these kind of resolutions be any more pointless? Don't get me wrong -- von Brunn should be charged with a hate crime and the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act should become law -- but does anyone actually think a DC COUNCIL resolution is going to do anything?

You can just see it now: Senator Jon Kyl (AZ) sitting in his office pondering his vote on the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act, when a staff member reminds him that the D.C. City Council passed a resolution in support of it. "Oh, really? Done deal -- I'll vote for it."

Posted by: jackwatson1968 | June 16, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Politicians passing resolutions regarding criminal charges.

That's a defense attorney's dream scenario. Probably worth at least six months' worth of pre-trial delay and litigation.

Yet another demonstration of who incredibly stupid the DC Council is.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | June 16, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

This is irrefutable proof James Van Brunnwas a far rightwinger.

James Van Brunn was a frequent poster on the far-rightwing hate site “Free Republic”.

His postings were well accepted by the “Freepers”.

His hateful screed “Obama is Missing” is signed by him, IN HIS FULL NAME, James W. von Brunn, on December 02, 2008 It is still up on that site… check it out before it’s removed.

His Free Republic nick was “wannabegeek”… read his other rightwing hate posts.

Google Free Republic “Obama is Missing”

http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:niXSYG-nVO8J:www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/2141655/posts

Type in user, wannabegeek if the link below is broken and read von Brunn’s other rightwing rants as well as the “Freepers” hateful, SUPPORTIVE responses.

http://www.freerepublic.com/tag/by:wannabegeek/index?tab=comments;brevity=full;options=no-change

Posted by: republican_disaster | June 16, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

"In the District, the so-called "bias-related crime" act currently prohibits prejudice based on the "actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, family responsibility, physical handicap, matriculation, or political affiliation of a victim."

What crime of violence DOESN'T fall withing these categories?

Posted by: ahashburn | June 16, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Add hate crime onto murder and attempted murder - plus the federal gun charges, etc,etc, etc.

This has to warm the little liberal fuzzies to see that their favorite infraction is getting its day in court.

Gee, for the rest of us, we kind of thought a murder conviction and a rope worked well.

Liberals - look, don't you regret doing away with the death penalty now that you have a white applicant????

Just think, if you still had the death penalty, you could kill him and then prosecute him for hate crimes! Now that would teach him a lesson we won't soon forget.

Posted by: VirginiaConservative | June 16, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Well if he gets the death penalty for murder will the District want him hung twice? A bunch of posturing by a worthless political body. The guy isn't gonna walk on the murder so what's the point?

Posted by: FLvet | June 16, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

"We as a country and city cannot and should not tolerate this," Brown said.

D'uh, really!

The whole concept of "hate crimes" is spurious and subjective. One may surmise that gang shootings involve some hate or that Mr. Pearson's dry $55M dry cleaning law suit was aimed at getting Koreans out of the neighborhood, but stuff like that doesn't count. I can't imagine too many crimes being done dispassionately; Perhaps Mafia killings that are just business.

Posted by: jhtlag1 | June 16, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

D.C., why the bias approach?

In N.Y.C, when Jews commit or are involved in hate crimes and acts of terrorism, Local, State and Federal (FBI) Authorities engage in cover-ups and silence such incidents, why won’t you do the same?

Posted by: Shanan1 | June 16, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

To VirginiaConservative:

My goodness...speaking of hate! I'm not sure what I did to spark your outrage, but I hope you don't plan to use a gun on me.

This isn't about conservatives vs. liberals. It's not about the death penalty. It's not about gun laws. This is about a man who is so twisted by bigotry that he set out to kill, and unfortunately succeeded.

I don't have much use for the DC Council's resolution, other than seeing it for the gesture it is - a refutation of hatred.

Posted by: docsnurse | June 16, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

D.C., why the bias approach?

In N.Y.C, when Jews commit or are involved in hate crimes and acts of terrorism (and there are many such cases), Politicians, Local, State and Federal (FBI) Authorities step in, engage in cover-ups, and silence such incidents from the media, why won’t you do the same?

Posted by: Shanan1 | June 16, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

My goodness...speaking of hate! I'm not sure what I did to spark your outrage, but I hope you don't plan to use a gun on me.

Well, docsnurse, you definitely get the drama queen 2009 award today.

Posted by: VirginiaConservative | June 16, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Thank you. Nice to know that it's good for the rest of the year. Feel free to steal it back anytime, though. ;-)

Posted by: docsnurse | June 16, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

"We as a country and city cannot and should not tolerate this," Brown said.

- - - -

He's already being charged with 1st degree murder. It would be hard to "tolerate" the shooting less.

Posted by: wapo9 | June 16, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

What he did was wrong. But how about the Black Muslim that killed the white soldier in Arkansas

Posted by: jprova | June 16, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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