Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentLaw & Ethics · 1 decade ago

Someone explain Apprendi V. New Jersey to me..?

And how does this have any relevence to hate crime emhancements and punishment?

2 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    In the early morning hours of December 22, 1994, Charles Apprendi, Jr., fired several .22-caliber bullets into the home of an African-American family that had recently moved into his neighborhood. He was arrested an hour later. During questioning by police, he admitted that he shot at the house because its occupants were "black in color" and for that reason he did not "want them in the neighborhood."

    Later, Apprendi pleaded guilty to weapons possession charges. Each of these counts carried a sentence of between 5 and 10 years in prison. As part of the plea bargain, the prosecution reserved the right to seek an enhanced sentence on the basis that the crime was committed with a biased purpose. Such an enhancement would have doubled the sentence otherwise imposed for each of the crimes. Apprendi, in turn, reserved the right to challenge the bias crime enhancement violated the federal constitution.

    The trial judge accepted Apprendi's plea. At a later hearing, he heard testimony from Apprendi himself as well as from psychologists stating that the shooting was not motivated by racial hatred but instead was the result of intoxication. The policeman testified at this hearing that Apprendi's motivation was racial animus. The trial judge found "by a preponderance of the evidence" that Apprendi's crime was motivated by the race of the victims. He sentenced Apprendi to 12 years in prison -- 2 years above the maximum sentence authorized for the weapons charge apart from the race enhancement.

    Apprendi appealed. The Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court affirmed the enhancement on the grounds that it was a "sentencing factor" rather than an "element" of the crime, and therefore not subject to the jury-trial and proof-beyond-a-reasonable-doubt requirements of the constitution. The New Jersey Supreme Court agreed with this conclusion, and also affirmed Apprendi's sentence. Apprendi asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review his case, and it agreed to do so.

    So see, the revelance to hate crime is because the people he did this to were black. He's saying he did it because of intoxication, but actually did it because they were black. Hope this helped you.

    Source(s): Criminal Justice Major
  • 1 decade ago

    If someone commits a crime, and the prosecutor wants to ask for a higher sentence because they think it was a hate crime, then the jury must find beyond a reasonable doubt that the crime was a hate crime (i.e.- motivated by race, color, creed, or another protected class).

    What happened in Apprendi was that the defendant was convicted, then the prosecutor asked that the judge give a harsher sentence because it was a hate crime. The prosecutor never proved that it was a hate crime, and never let the jury determine whether it was or not. The Supreme Court ruled that the jury must be the one to decide if something is a hate crime, not the prosecutor.

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