Senate Bill 144
151st General Assembly (Present)
House Judiciary 6/16/21
Committee Hearing takes place within twelve legislative days.
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 11 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO OFFENSES AGAINST PUBLIC HEALTH, ORDER, AND DECENCY.
This Act modernizes the hate crime statute and consolidates related offenses together with the hate crime statute in the Criminal Code. Changes to the hate crime statute include: (1) That the hate crime be motivated, in whole or in part, on a bias. This reflects instances where a hate crime is committed but is only motivated in part by hate in addition to another component. (2) That the focus be on the defendant’s belief or perception. Currently our law focuses on the victim’s actual race, gender, religion, or other immutable characteristic, rather than focusing on the state of mind of the defendant. This change refocuses the inquiry on the defendant’s state of mind, and specifically, what the defendant believes to be true at the time the act was committed. (3) Prohibiting any crime committed in whole or in part on a belief or perception of an immutable characteristic of a group. This Act adds “group” to make clear that a hate crime can be committed because of the hate towards a group at large. In addition, this Act does the following: (1) Combines and updates the existing desecration and desecration of a burial place sections maintaining the existing penalties. (2) Establishes a right of civil remedies to allow individuals to seek relief from hate crime, desecration, and religious symbol burning related injury. (3) Requires law enforcement to report violations and investigations of violations of hate crimes to the Division of Civil Rights and Public Trust. This Act also makes technical corrections to conform existing law to the standards of the Delaware Legislative Drafting Manual.
Takes effect upon being signed into law