Hoaxes and the Appropriate Response
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Hoaxes and the Appropriate Response

August, 1995

The problem of hate crime hoaxes is so detrimental that such hoaxes need to be made illegal...as illegal and punishable as the hate crime which the hoax accused a person of. Laird Wilcox's book Crying Wolf: Hate Crime Hoaxes in America (1-913-829-0609) makes very clear the magnitude of the problem. It is quite obvious that while hate crimes are identified in law as illegal requiring mandatory punishment of severe nature, these very penalties should also be applied to someone who falsely accuses or sets up a hoax of a hate crime nature.

The most appropriate type of response in law for a hate crime hoax is the following:

1.  Same penalty as if the person were guilty of the hate crime accusation made.

2.  Complete restitution by the hoax creator for legal, medical, corrective, and investigatory costs and payment of income lost by the falsely accused person and others.

3.  Restitution to newspapers, magazines and news services for all print costs (standard column inch fees) and media time involved in publicizing the hoax.

4.  Payment for press and media costs needed to correct the hoax equivalent to the time and space used originally to publicize the accusations (hoax).

5.  Penalties must accrue to any press and media which continues to publish information about an alleged hate crime demonstrated to be hoax with a mandated penalty of being accountable for a proportion of restitution of costs and fees already described as well as equal time and space to correct.

Sentencing guidelines must take into consideration all the preceding.

This is necessary because the very worst hate crime ever is that of a hoax hate crime.


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