State Policy Work
Hate Crimes Laws Generally, hate crime statutes enhance the grade and/or penalty for criminal conduct directed at a person who shares a group characteristic. A hate crime is one that hurts not only the victim but also damages society. Increased penalties purport to send a message that we are all free to participate in society without being subject to attack or intimidation because we are identified with a group. Of 47 states with hate crimes statutes, 45 include a list of protected classes. Existing Utah Law Although Utah adopted a law twelve years ago that allows enhanced penalties for crimes committed when hate is a motive, prosecutors consider it unenforceable because it is vague and does not include the commonly listed protected classes. Unlike other statutes around the country, Utah’s law focuses on the intent of the perpetrator rather than the status of the victim. It targets any action that intends to “intimidate or terrorize” another person to keep him from exercising his constitutional rights. In a court challenge, the Utah Court of Appeals said the law lacked clear legislative intent and noted it was not a true hate crimes law but should be titled the "Exercise of Rights" statute…
ACLU of Utah sends legislative iterim committee a review of the proposed amendments to the law regarding sentencing in capital cases
The ACLU of Utah comments on proposed legislation "Sentencing in Capital Cases Amendments" to protect the civil rights of the mentally retarded.
The ACLU of Utah Sends the Department of Corrections a Statement of Concerns on the Privatization of Prisons
In response to the private prison contract currently under negotiation in the State of Utah, the ACLU of Utah reiterates its strong opposition to the privatization of prisons both as a matter of law and public policy.