“Rules for thee, but not for me.” this appears to be the playbook when it comes to “Hate Crimes.”
30-year-old Adolfo Martinez of Ames, Iowa, has been sentenced to sixteen years in prison for going on church property, removing LGBTQ flag, and setting fire to that flag in front of a nearby bar. Martinez, spoke publicly to the local news, KCCI, in June, “It was an honor to do that. It was a blessing from the Lord,” Martinez said. “It is a judgment, and it is written to execute vengeance on the heathen and punishments upon the people.” He further stated, “I burned down their pride. Plain and simple.”
Here are the stated three charges and sentence that happened:
- Third-degree harassment – 30 days sentence.
- Third-degree arson – in violation of individual rights – 1 year.
- Hate crime – 15 years.
Story County Attorney Jessica Reynolds said the “Hate Crime” charges were added because Martinez is suspected of criminal mischief against someone’s property because of “what it represents as far as sexual orientation.” It is worth noting that this act of Arson without the attachment “Hate Crime” would have meant facing a maximum of two years. Adding a habitual offender charge took a maximum five-year sentence to fifteen years for a “Hate Crime”. There was no indication that the fire set, with lighter fluid, caused any physical injuries or structural property damage. The “Hate Crime” component is related entirely to the object, the flag, as representing Gay Pride. Every state is not universal in sentencing requirements, and Iowa law requires the offense of Third-Degree Arson, which is an aggravated misdemeanor, change to a Class D felony when “Hate Crime” is attached. This distinction played a paramount role in sentencing.
Habitual offender laws or Three Strike laws enable judges to tally up past felony offenses for maximum years against the convicted. These laws are controversial and have been recently changed in some states and are being looked at closely on the Federal sentencing level. Martinez, according to Iowa Courts online data search, appears to have a DUI, a marijuana charge, 5th-degree theft, criminal mischief, and minor traffic violations pull up on his record. The enhanced “Hate Crime” created the third felony on his record, which enabled the habitual offender charge. It should be noted that Mr. Martinez did not choose proper legal representation and pleaded not guilty at trial. In Iowa, he will be required to serve at least three years before being eligible for parole consideration. In his interview with KCCI, Martinez appeared to be exhibiting some mental health issues which were not explored at trial.
When this case recently hit the headlines, it has caused many to re-think this idea of “Hate Crimes.” Even the director of gay advocacy group One Iowa, Courtney Reyes, thinks that the sentence is excessive, and says that while her organization appreciates how quickly the incident was handled. Are those who commit Hate Crimes always charged as “Hate Crimes” – applied equality to all under the law? A cursory google search would prove the above is not true in all cases:
A former FBI agent was just sentenced for illegally accessing a person’s personal computer, and then distributing stolen information to media sources because they were anti-Trump and pro-resistance. He received a seven-day sentence and a $500 fine, but no “Hate Crime” charges were forthcoming. Why no “Hate Crime?”
We are all aware of the hoax perpetrated by Jesse Smollett, and he is free and thriving after indicating MAGA supporters attacked him. Was that hoax not motivated by hate and a desire to target a specific population? Why no “Hate Crime?”
There have been too many violent attacks on Trump supporters to name them (but check out our Liberal Hate Map) few ever get sentenced with a “Hate Crime.” Then there was the case where a neighbor attacked Senator Rand Paul and left him with severe lung damage – his sentence was only 30 days. And what of all those “Hate Crimes” on our Liberal Hate Map? We all know that Media bias cheers and defends liberal hate. Why no “Hate Crimes?”
I attended [editor’s note: the author is our very own RFSO reporter on the ground] the 2016 Presidential Inaugural on the Mall of Washington DC and observed: “the left resistance” walking around lighting the ends of hair of Trump supporters, wrestling the private property of supporters and burning it, and explicitly stealing American Flags from supporters and setting them on fire. No person was arrested for a “Hate Crime.” We have all watched the American flag burning protected under free speech. Here a few videos on this:
Merriam Webster defines a “Hate Crime” as any of various crimes (such as assault or defacement of property) when motivated by hostility to the victim as a member of a group. “Hate Crime” law advocates say that extra penalties are needed for group directed crimes because society is experiencing “epidemics” of such crimes that can go viral. The data that proves that group hate incites more crime than individual crime is dubious. But even this isn’t the main issue.
The problem is which group deserves protection? What is a recognized group? What is hate? And does the shield protection become in real life a sword of political activism for groups looking to push an agenda? Federal “Hate Crime” legislation was a dangerous farce, to begin with, which sets a dangerous precedent. It is never equally applied and often used as a social justice warrior weapon for political gains by activist lawyers and judges. This case must be appealed, and it is far past time for SCOTUS to review the constitutionality of the “Hate Crime” statute.
Martinez broke the law and should have been charged. One can not normalize assault or abuse of property rights of individuals. But the Martinez sentencing was excessive – under hypocritical “Hate Crime” laws. If Martinez’s target had been a pro-life group, Christians, Trump supporters, or police officers – we all know there would not have been a “Hate Crime.” Yet, doing so is fully protected by the Constitution as an expression of political speech. Why is burning any other flag not treated the same? If I grab a hammer and sickle flag out of someone’s hand and set it on fire, will I be charged with a “Hate Crime?” Planned parenthood banner? Islamic flag?
Burning the American Flag is a surreal experience to observe and counter-intuitive to true patriots. “Hate Crime” hypocrisy is eating away at the soul of America, and causing more division than it tries to solve.