Laws of the Last Resort

Hate-crime legislation is not perfect, but sometimes it's exactly what's called for

In Richard Dooling's brilliant new novel, Brain Storm, Judge Whittaker Stang, a Howard Cosell in robes, scolds an attorney who wants to try the killer of a "disabled person of color" for a hate crime rather than simple murder. The ambitious lawyer thinks that will make him look cuddly and electable in a run for the Senate. Throbbing with scorn, Stang tears into him: "Are we going to impanel a jury to inquire after just what kind of hate this degenerate had running around inside his head? And after we identify all the warped, deviant varietals of hatred...ask the jury which...

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