Mitchell V. Wisconsin: Why Mitchell V. Wisconsin Sucked

On June 11, 1993, the United State Supreme Court upheld Wisconsin's
penalty enhancement law, which imposes harsher sentences on criminals who
"intentionally select the person against whom the committed..because
of the race, religion, color, disability, sexual orientation, national origin
or ancestry of that person." Chief Justice Rehnquist deliverd the opinion of
the unanimous Court. This paper argues against the decision, and will attempt
to prove the unconstitutionality of such penalty enhancement laws.
On the evening of October 7, 1989, Mitchell and a group of young black
men attacked and severely beat a lone white boy. The group had just finished
watching the ...

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jury, however, found that
because Mitchell selected his victim based on race, the penalty enhancement law
allowed Mitchell to be sentenced to up to seven years. The jury sentenced
Mitchell to four years, twice the maximum for the crime he committed without
the penalty enhancement law.
The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling was faulty, and defied a number of
precedents. The Wisconsin law is unconstitutional, and is essentially
unenforceable. This paper primarily focuses on the constitutional arguments
against Chief Justice Rehnquist's decision and the statute itself, but will
also consider the practical implications of the Wisconsin law, as well as a
similar law passed under the new federal crime bill (Cacas, 32). The Wisconsin
law and the new federal law are based on a model created by the Anti-
Defemation League in response to a rising tide of hate-related violent crimes
(Cacas, 33). Figures released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation show that
7,684 hate crimes motivated ...

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that "the statute punishes the because of' aspect of the defendant's selection,
the reason the defendant selected the victim, the motive behind the
selection." The law is in fact a direct violation of the First Amendment,
according to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which said "the Wisconsin legislature
cannot criminalize bigoted thought with which it disagrees."
"If there is a bedrock principal underlying the First Amendment, it is
that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because
society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable". The Supreme Court
was heard to utter such noble phrases as recently as 1989, in Texas v. ...

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Mitchell V. Wisconsin: Why Mitchell V. Wisconsin Sucked. (2004, May 5). Retrieved March 24, 2019, from
"Mitchell V. Wisconsin: Why Mitchell V. Wisconsin Sucked.", 5 May. 2004. Web. 24 Mar. 2019. <>
"Mitchell V. Wisconsin: Why Mitchell V. Wisconsin Sucked." May 5, 2004. Accessed March 24, 2019.
"Mitchell V. Wisconsin: Why Mitchell V. Wisconsin Sucked." May 5, 2004. Accessed March 24, 2019.
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Added: 5/5/2004 02:46:19 PM
Category: Government
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 3340
Pages: 13

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