Kami Chavis to discuss current state of hate crimes legislation at national symposium

Photo of Wake Forest Law Professor Kami Chavis inside the Worrell Professional Center

(Winston-Salem, N.C., Jan. 28, 2019) — Hate crime expert Kami Chavis will participate in the panel discussion, “Comprehensive Legislation & Legislative Gaps,” at the Raising Awareness and Effective Collaborative Approaches to Address Hate Crimes Symposium in Los Angeles, California, beginning Tuesday, January 29.

She will contribute to a session that reviews the current state of hate crimes legislation and its impact at the local, state, and federal level, according to the event flyer. This discussion will also examine the positive results of legislation as well as opportunities to expand or start anew.

Hate crimes are difficult to prosecute – If a defendant commits crimes because of a victim’s membership in a protected class, such as race, ethnicity, and religious affiliation, hate crime statuses typically allow for penalty enhancement, says Kami Chavis. “These crimes are notoriously difficult to prosecute because of the high burden prosecutors face when proving that the defendant’s bias indeed motivated the crime.”

Why traditional criminal penalties are inadequate – Deterrence and prosecution of crimes based on membership in certain groups is reliant on hate crime statutes, says Chavis. “It can also help ease the secondary victimization and marginalization that members of targeted groups experience when a bias-motivated crime occurs in their community.”

Kami Chavis is the director of the Wake Forest Criminal Justice Program. She was an assistant district attorney with the United States Attorney’s Office from 2003-2006. Follow her on Twitter at @ProfKamiChavis.

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Wake Forest School of Law has committed to keeping legal education small and personable for over 35 years. Established in 1894, the law school is located in Winston-Salem, N.C. Wake Forest law school is ranked No. 32 in the nation and offers several degrees, which include the Juris Doctor (JD) with dual and concurrent degree options, an online Master of Studies in Law (MSL), a Master of Laws (LL.M.), and the Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD). Learn more about Wake Forest School of Law at www.law.wfu.edu