A Florida man is facing hate crime charges in Manhattan after attacking several Asian women over the course of a few hours. His mom, however, claims he is not racist and his lawyer says he has no history of animus against the Asian community. The man, who is a former U.S. military veteran, was living in a homeless shelter at the time of the assaults.
The man is accused of attacking 7 Asian women over the course of 2 hours. However, he is only facing charges for four incidents. The man will likely use a mental-health defense to avoid the hate crime charges. It is still unclear whether or not he uttered racist or defamatory slurs during the assaults which would be evidence of bias.
There has been an uptick of attacks against the Asian community ever since it was revealed that China was the source of the COVID-19 virus. There are some who still believe that China engineered and deployed the virus, although the country was ground-zero for the outbreak and took heavy losses in the first stages of the pandemic. There was never any evidence that China engineered or manufactured the virus for any nefarious purpose.
His lawyer has entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf.
Analyzing a mental health defense for hate crimes
Mental health is a strong defense to allegations of racial bias. While it may not sit well with the victims or the broader American public at large, hatred requires a knowing mind. Another consideration is that, for the purpose of hate crimes, courts will charge the matter differently. In order to prove a hate crime charge, some courts will require the prosecution to prove that racial bias was an element of the decision to attack, but other courts will impose higher standards. There, the prosecution must prove that racial bias was the driving force behind the attack or the main reason why the attack occurred. If someone is attacking Asian women because they have an ongoing and untreated mental health problem, that could prevent the charges from escalating to hate crime charges.
Nonetheless, the man attacked several women and for that, he will be punished. If the court decides that his mental illness is severe enough to indicate that he does not understand the charges against him, the difference between right and wrong, and cannot participate in his own defense, then he would be remanded to the care of a forensic psychiatric facility where he would stay indefinitely until doctors determined whether or not he was a risk to himself or others. Either way, there will be severe consequences for the actions he took that day. However, if he is determined to be legally insane, then he would not have a conviction on his record.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a serious crime, call the West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at The Skier Law Firm, P.A. today to schedule an appointment and we can begin preparing your defense today.