Hate crimes are a recently defined special class of violence or threat of violence to a person,property, and/or community. These crimes include a prominent symbolic component that affectsa class of victimized parties, and provides an understanding of the motives of the perpetrator.Given the critical importance of intent in committing a hate crime, it is not surprising that defenseattorneys have sought out counterarguments based on psychological theory to limit the perpetrator'sculpability and achieve leniency. These defense strategies are considered in terms of theirveracity vis-à-vis available behavioral research. The implications of these defense strategies are considered in terms of how psychological research may be employed in prosecution and presentencing decision making concerning perpetrator placement.
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