Review the two case summaries below and then write a 1 -2 page analysis in response to these questions.
- Should the law treat cyber-hate and/or hate crimes any differently when committed online rather than offline?
- If you were the judge presiding on these cases would you have ruled differently? Why or why not?
- If Richard Machado wasn’t caught when he was, do you think his hatred would have escalated to violence and death similar to the Matthew Shepard tragedy?
MATTHEW SHEPARD CASE
Mathew Shepard was a 21-year-old college student at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. On October 12, 1998, he died, in part, because he was a homosexual. On October 6, 1998, two men in their early twenties entered a local bar, where Shepard was already drinking. The men, pretending to be gay, approached Shepard who eventually left with them. The men then drove him to a deserted area, where they tied him to a fence and pistol-whipped him until his skull collapsed. They took his wallet and shoes and obtained his address so that they could rob his apartment. Shepard was discovered 18 hours later, still tied to the fence. He never regained consciousness. The pair were charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping, and aggravated robbery. Both men plead guilty to the charges and were sentenced to serve two consecutive life sentences, escaping a possible death sentence. See supplemental reading material link on the home page for more information relating to the Matthew Shepard case.
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