Rishawn Biddle and Questions on Hate Crimes

Over on the Expresso blog, Rishawn Biddle asks this question regarding the current hate crimes legislation in the house.

3.) Can the supporters of the hate crimes penalities proposed in House Bill 1459 muster up evidence that gays are being murdered or assaulted at any higher rate than the rest of the population? More importantly, doesn’t the laws currently on the books against murder, assault and the like already assure that those committting hate crimes will spend time in prison anyway?
I attempted to reply there, but their comments don’t seem to be working, so let me cover it a bit here:

#3 – that isn’t the standard for whether a hate crimes law should go on the books. According to the domestic violence attorneys serving Casper, the answer is that we can show that gay people are being murdered and assaulted; whether the rate is higher isn’t relevant, the fact that it’s happening is.
As for the assertion that “current laws cover it” – check out this relevant passage from Chris Douglas’s “Hate Crime Legislation: A Respectful Response to Common Assertions” that I have posted here on my site…

Under Indiana law, crimes are treated differently according to their victim, their impact, and their intent. Indiana law already provides for enhanced penalties when the victim of battery is deemed to be among society’s vulnerable (under the age of 12, over the age of 65, or mentally or physically infirm) or when the battery is deemed especially injurious to public peace (battery on a police or corrections officer.). For criminal cases, federal criminal defense attorney’s help is required and you can get it from here!

Definitely click the link to Chris’ article – it’s very enlightening on this subject, and I’m glad to have it on my site.

Continue ReadingRishawn Biddle and Questions on Hate Crimes

Anti-Marriage Equality Amendment Introduced to Indiana Legislature

As Bilerico is reporting – the massively flawed legislation to put an anti-marriage equality amendment (banning civil marriage for same-sex partners) on the ballot for voting had been re-introduced to the legislature.

Here’s the proposed bill:

Definition of marriage. Provides that marriage in Indiana consists only of the union of one man and one woman. Provides that Indiana law may not be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents of marriage be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.

That second line — that’s the massively flawed part. The idea is not only to prevent us from getting married, but also to prevent civil unions. But the wording of this bill is so bad that it has ramifications FAR BEYOND same-sex couples, and far beyond civil unions. This is what happened in Ohio – domestic violence laws are being invalidated for heterosexual couples who are unmarried – and women are being victimized as a result, because they’re abused by their live-in boyfriends, but the police can’t prosecute because they aren’t “married.”

Read that second paragraph again, and think about it for a minute.

Now think about that in context of Stephanie and I, trying to build a life together – to protect our joint property and provide for one another as we get older. That can invalidate wills, powers of attorney, living wills, assets and trusts.

We have to spend thousands of dollars that heterosexual people don’t to protect our lives – you get it just by getting a $10 marriage license. And that second line of this bill – can throw all of it out the window.

This bill is CRAZY – and it’s going to be voted on in the legislature a second time. It’s called SJR-7 – Senate Resolution 7. You can track what’s happening to it at that link.

The Homophobic Hate-Filled Bigots Responsible

Republican Senator Brandt Hershman (Wheatfield) – the Majority Whip

These people know what that second line means – they know how harmful it can be. They’re aware that we could lose our assets and be out in the cold, and they know about the problems in Ohio – but they’re so filled with hatred they don’t care.

Please contact every single one of these utter jackholes (information at the links) and tell them that they’re not good Christians for supporting this kind of discrimination, (make sure to say SJR-7) and call them on being the evil, hate-filled bigots that they are.

Stephanie and Steph

Do it for us — aren’t we cute? Shouldn’t we get to have a life together? Don’t you love us? Let these guys know that what they’re doing hurts people you care about.

Why this should be decided by courts, not by ballot

Civil rights should not be subject to the tyranny of the majority. That’s the key that sets America apart from other democracies – We have a Bill of Rights that protects the rights of the individual from the whims of the masses.

If we let people vote on civil rights, Rosa Parks would still be sitting at the back of the bus right now. Fortunately, the wiser head of a court system were allowed to interpret the law and decide discrimination was wrong.

But if we let Indiana citizens AMEND THE CONSTITUTION just to arbitrarily discriminate against a group of people, we’ll be betraying every principle the country stands for.

Continue ReadingAnti-Marriage Equality Amendment Introduced to Indiana Legislature

Indiana’s Seatbelt Loophole law

I’ve commented on the current seatbelt law on both Doug Masson’s Blog, and on Taking Down Words, but since I keep doing that, I should probably talk about here on my own site, too. Both of those sites have been in favor of closing Indiana’s truck seat belt law, and both of them have been pretty dismissive (and somewhat contemptuous) of the fact that there’s an exception in the first place.

There is actually logic behind Indiana’s truck exception in the seatbelt law. The reason trucks are excluded is because people who use them for certain types of jobs (on both the farms and in construction projects in town) need to get in and out of the truck often while driving very short distances between stops. Buckling and undoing the seat belt every thirty seconds or so to hop out is really impractical for these types of jobs. Generally, they’re not going fast enough to get in an accident or even get hurt in the event of one. Perhaps there should be a way to exclude trucks that are actual in work mode from being required to use the seatbelt, rather than all trucks. If you got into a truck accident, you can sue the truck driver with the help of a good lawyer and claim compensation.

I’d also say that you need to provide some compelling statistics about the number of trucks on the road that have been in accidents without seatbelts and the amount your insurance has gone up because of them before someone should be making the case for changing the law. Nowadays, many accidents are reported to be caused by drunk driving or the negligence of the drivers. You can look into leppardlaw.com/florida-dui-penalties and contact experienced lawyers who can help you out of the situation. But you need to understand that such accidents that are caused due by negligence can destroy many people’s lives and cannot be compensated with money.

Both Masson and Taking Down Words tried to cite “public emergency expenses” as a reason in favor of the law. But in the event of an accident, you’re paying the same amount for the police to come and rescue someone whether they wear their seatbelt or not, so that’s not a factor you can cite.

Full Disclosure: I come down reluctantly in favor of seat belt laws. I know that wearing one is safer and lowers the risk of injury. In such cases, if you’re looking for a commercial truck accident lawyer when you are injured in an accident, you can contact experienced lawyers who will help you get the compensation for the injuries caused. You can visit the Law Offices of Ronald A. Ramos, P.C.`s official website, and contact an experienced attorney to help you with your case.

However, since my heart surgery, the seat belt drives me absolutely stark raving mad every time I drive because it hurts. So there are times I don’t wear it, and I get away with it because I drive a pick-up. I kinda like taking advantage of the exception. But at least I know the reason why the exception exists, although no one else seems to.

2012 Update: the seat belt law was amended to remove the pick-up truck loophole, but still allows exceptions for farm vehicles and mail carriers.

Continue ReadingIndiana’s Seatbelt Loophole law

Hate Crime Legislation: A Respectful Response to Common Assertions

I had this article on my site a few years ago while the State legislature was debating the hate crimes legislation. It was written by Chris Douglas. I’m re-posting it because he needed to find it again, and because it’s an informative and well-written piece.
It’s quite long, though, so I’m putting the body of the piece below the jump.

Continue ReadingHate Crime Legislation: A Respectful Response to Common Assertions

More on The Murdered Indianapolis Trans Teen

From the Indy Star:

An initial hearing in the case of the teen’s murder was held for an Indianapolis man who has been arrested for the murder of Gregory Johnson and his friend Brandie Coleman. According to the hearing, the gun belonging to Paul Anthony Moore, 20, was matched to the bullets that killed the two teens.

See my previous post on Nireah Johnson.

It appears that Nireah Johnson is buried in Crown Hill Cemetery in section 73, lot 509 under the name “GREGORY M. JOHNSON”

Brandie Coleman’s Obituary:

Brandie Michelle Coleman, 18, Indianapolis, died July 23, 2003. She was born March 29, 1985. She was a considerate, kindhearted, and very happy person. She was also a good singer. Brandie was a new mother. She formerly attended Northwest High School and was attending Goodwill Industries where she was working on her GED. Brandie was a member of the Church of the Living God Temple #2. Brandie was preceded in death by her father, Walter “Duke” Coleman; and grandmother, Alice Coleman. Brandie will be greatly missed by her 2 month old daughter, Brakayla; mother, Mary Ann Coleman; grandparents, George (Barbara) Coleman and Carl & Ruth Wildman; sisters Robyn Foisy and Jennifer Coleman; brother, Jason Coleman; and a host of other relatives and friends. Visitation will be from 10 to 11 a.m. Tue., July 29 at Stuart Mortuary immediately followed by Interment: New Crown Cemetery. Brandie’s death was tragic loss and during this difficult time we are leaning to The Lord Jesus for the strength that we know only he can give.

Published in the The Indianapolis Star on July 29, 2003

Related posts:

17-year-old Indianapolis Youth Killed Because She Was Trans

Two Indianapolis men sentenced for killing trans teen, friend

Nireah Johnson and Brandie Coleman

Continue ReadingMore on The Murdered Indianapolis Trans Teen