Sunday, May 20, 2012

Hate Crime and Moral Turpitute

I just read an article on Fox News that amazed and astounded me - and not in a good way. A Dharun Ravi purposely invaded the privacy of another man during a homosexual romantic encounter and could be deported. The victim committed suicide. Ravi apparently doesn't like gay people, making this a "hate crime". In order to be deported, the crime needs to have been a "a crime of moral turpitude or an aggravated felony"



Federal authorities have two possible grounds on which to deport Ravi: for committing a crime of moral turpitude or an aggravated felony.
Deportation law expert Norton Tooby told NewsCore that despite its judgmental connotation, a hate crime conviction might not qualify as a crime of moral turpitude.
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) does not define the term moral turpitude, but the Justice Department's official definition says it is a crime that involves "both reprehensible conduct and some degree of [intent], whether specific intent, deliberateness, willfulness, or recklessness...."
The underlying crime in Ravi's case was invasion of privacy.
Without commenting on the specifics of Ravi's case, Tooby said a decent argument could be made that invasion of privacy is not a crime of moral turpitude.
A crime of moral turpitude is one that is done with an evil motive, according to Tooby, as opposed to other crimes which simply prohibit specific actions.
"You could say there's nothing inherently evil by looking at someone else doing a sex act, certainly if it's consensual," Tooby said, referring to the crime of invasion of privacy. "It's only that it's without permission, that's what makes it criminal...."
 My first problem is with Tooby's statement that what Ravi did wasn't with evil intent.
 He deliberately invaded the privacy of someone else. He streamed it on the internet. How is that not "with evil intent"? I'd think that any crime where there is a definable victim would be a crime of moral turpitude.

My second problem is that this is called a "hate crime". Does his motive in the crime change the fact that he committed the crime? Does it change the victim's reaction to the crime? Is it any more against the law than if he'd invaded the privacy of someone during a heterosexual romantic encounter?