Utah Protects ‘Political Expression’ In New State Hate Crimes Law
After the victim of an alleged gay bashing in Salt Lake City, Utah, caught his attacker punching him on video last month, state lawmakers found themselves under new pressure to update the state’s hate crime statute.
Upon the arrest of the suspect, Carlo Alazo, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill told the media he would not be attaching hate crime enhancements to the charges because he felt it was “nearly impossible for me to prove that intent” under Utah’s hate crime statutes calling them “unworkable.”
“I would have to show that the person involved in criminal behavior had the intent to deny a constitutionally protected right,” Gill added, such as free speech or religious expression, which doesn’t apply in this case. “It’s so burdensome, we don’t even go to it.”