April 8, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON - Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles) and Congresswoman Lucy McBath (D-Georgia) introduced the Stop Hate Crimes Act, legislation that changes the federal hate crimes law. Hate crimes are often difficult to prosecute because courts have interpreted the federal statute to require that prosecutors show the victim’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or other protected characteristic was the sole reason for the crime. The Stop Hate Crimes Act provides a solution to this onerous standard. Under this legislation, a prosecutor can charge the crime if the victim’s protected characteristic was a contributing motivating factor in the defendant's actions. This new standard comports with the common sense principle that defendants can commit crimes for multiple reasons. The Stop Hate Crimes Act, which is cosponsored by 22 Members of Congress, will ensure that those who commit hate crimes will be held to account.

“I am pleased to introduce the Stop Hate Crimes Act,” said Rep. Lieu. “We need to ensure that federal prosecutors have useable tools to pursue hate crimes and hold criminals accountable for their bigoted actions. The current law, as interpreted by the courts, sets an onerous standard of requiring that a protected characteristic be the sole motivating factor for a defendant's commission of a crime. As a former prosecutor, I know that defendants can have multiple motives for committing a crime. This common sense bill changes the standard to reflect that reality. The bill works to bring justice to our communities and prevent those who commit hate crimes from escaping the reach of the law.”

“No member of our community should ever live in fear of discrimination, hatred, or violence,” said Rep. McBath. “I’m proud to join my colleague to introduce this important step to stop hate crimes, and I want to thank him for his tireless work on this issue. We must continue the fight to root out hate and violence in our communities, stop these horrific crimes, and protect the American people.”