Hitchens on Pace U prosecution: “This has to stop, and it has to stop right now”

posted at 4:15 pm on July 30, 2007 by Allahpundit

MM has a copy of the complaint. Turns out the newspaper reports were wrong: he hasn’t been charged with any counts of aggravated harassment, just two counts of fourth-degree criminal mischief (one for each Koran he flushed). As we saw yesterday, fourth-degree mischief is a misdemeanor. So how did Shmulevich end up with two felonies? Simple — they used the state hate crimes statute to elevate the penalty. You’ll find it here in section 485.05; criminal mischief is specifically identified as a covered offense in subsection 3. The provision ordering the court to enhance the punishment is in subsection 2 of section 485.10, right below the hate crimes statute. In pertinent part:

When a person is convicted of a hate crime pursuant to this article and the specified offense is a misdemeanor or a class C, D or E felony, the hate crime shall be deemed to be one category higher than the specified offense the defendant committed, or one category higher than the offense level applicable to the defendant’s conviction for an attempt or conspiracy to commit a specified offense, whichever is applicable.

Presumably, Shmulevich is looking at two Class E felonies now instead of misdemeanors. What’s the penalty for a Class E felony in New York? If the judge is feeling uncharitable, four years. At a minimum, per the same statute, one year.

Hitchens:

Many distinguished authors, Muslim and non-Muslim, are dead or in hiding because of the words they have put on pages concerning the unbelievable claims of Islam. And it is to appease such a spirit of persecution and intolerance that a student in New York City has been arrested for an expression, however vulgar, of an opinion.

This has to stop, and it has to stop right now. There can be no concession to sharia in the United States. When will we see someone detained, or even cautioned, for advocating the burning of books in the name of God? If the police are honestly interested in this sort of “hate crime,” I can help them identify those who spent much of last year uttering physical threats against the republication in this country of some Danish cartoons. In default of impartial prosecution, we have to insist that Muslims take their chance of being upset, just as we who do not subscribe to their arrogant certainties are revolted every day by the hideous behavior of the parties of God.

It is often said that resistance to jihadism only increases the recruitment to it. For all I know, this commonplace observation could be true. But, if so, it must cut both ways. How about reminding the Islamists that, by their mad policy in Kashmir and elsewhere, they have made deadly enemies of a billion Indian Hindus? Is there no danger that the massacre of Iraqi and Lebanese Christians, or the threatened murder of all Jews, will cause an equal and opposite response? Most important of all, what will be said and done by those of us who take no side in filthy religious wars? The enemies of intolerance cannot be tolerant, or neutral, without inviting their own suicide. And the advocates and apologists of bigotry and censorship and suicide-assassination cannot be permitted to take shelter any longer under the umbrella of a pluralism that they openly seek to destroy.

I think he’s overstating the extent to which the prosecution is motivated by fear of rampaging Muslims. It’s not violent threats that has the D.A. keen to act, it’s another weapon in the CAIR arsenal — the perpetual, perpetually phony backlash against Muslims after 9/11 that supposedly makes them a vulnerable minority in need of extra protection from the kuffar. That sort of grievance lobby nonsense and not the prospect of jihadism is what’s motivating this, I suspect, although of course the two can and do work hand in hand, as we’ve seen with British Muslim advocacy groups demagoging acts of terrorism to pressure the government on policy.

The Supreme Court has already vetted and approved this type of penalty-enhancement hate crime statute on the theory that prejudice is a specie of a motive and it’s okay to look at motive during sentencing. So long as he’s being tried for some underlying, viewpoint-neutral offense — i.e., swiping someone else’s book and destroying it — it’s fair to hold his viewpoint against him in deciding punishment. Per the boldface part, Hitch worries that the next step in that logic will be to say that the viewpoint itself needs to be punished lest its expression incite violence in people within earshot. Are there any exceptions to the First Amendment that would allow laws like that? Indeed there are, although the “fighting words” doctrine as it stands is too limited to cover flushing a Koran. Maybe after Hillary gets to appoint some justices, that’ll change. In the meantime, I think what we’re looking at has less to do with fear of encroaching jihadism than prosecutors enforcing the laws unequally to protect “minority” religions. Some think tank should compare the number and type of hate crime complaints filed in NYC over the past five years to the number and type that were actually prosecuted. I bet you’d find some interesting disconnections.


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Originally the student needed disciplining, but after this huge overreaction the whole university needs disciplining.

frankj on July 30, 2007 at 4:19 PM

frankj on July 30, 2007 at 4:19 PM

The prosecutor pushing this cr@p and the damn judge who hasn’t thrown it out already are in need of some serious disciplining as well.

doriangrey on July 30, 2007 at 4:23 PM

Wait, they are elevateing the Level of a Hate Crime statute, because its being called a hate crime?

Romeo13 on July 30, 2007 at 4:27 PM

Some think tank should compare the number and type of hate crime complaints filed in NYC over the past five years to the number and type that were actually prosecuted. I bet you’d find some interesting disconnections.

Nationwide would be a good idea.

Theworldisnotenough on July 30, 2007 at 4:31 PM

Originally the student needed disciplining, but after this huge overreaction the whole university needs disciplining.

frankj on July 30, 2007 at 4:19 PM

I agree.

The university shouldn’t have let the student flush a Koran, but it doesn’t make sense to send someone to jail for doing that.

It doesn’t make sense to jail anyone for destroying any book, not matter how important it is to any particular group.

To Muslims, the Koran is a holy book but to everyone else, it’s just a book. We shouldn’t be forced to treat it like a holy book just because they do. It’s just like the Danish cartoons.

Esthier on July 30, 2007 at 4:32 PM

To Muslims, the Koran is a holy book but to everyone else, it’s just a book. We shouldn’t be forced to treat it like a holy book just because they do. It’s just like the Danish cartoons.

Exactly. I don’t see anyone forcing a respect for Christianity down Muslims’ throats via lawsuits.

PBoilermaker on July 30, 2007 at 4:35 PM

FWIW, the Koran in question had been pooped on.

I’m just throwing that out there, but I would think a bit of restraint in response to that fact would be welcomed by our hosts.

see-dubya on July 30, 2007 at 4:36 PM

When we all objected to the nonsensical notion of a hate crime, it was because we knew it would eventually come to this.

If he is indeed guilty of the destruction of two books that did not belong to him, he should be punuished to the full extent of the law, which based on other cases would be a minor admonmishment followed by suing the owners of the books for harassment for leaving around books in public view that were known to be offensive.

pedestrian on July 30, 2007 at 4:38 PM

Mind numbing. If flushing the Koran is a crime, than harming a Bible should be all the more since the Bible offers the origins taken by some sadistic, child rapist, con artist and transformed into something murderous Arabs could agree with.

Best to flush one page at a time after using it for something other than world conflict.

Hening on July 30, 2007 at 4:39 PM

Wait, they are elevateing the Level of a Hate Crime statute, because its being called a hate crime?
Romeo13 on July 30, 2007 at 4:27 PM

No they’re raising the level of the underlying crime (criminal mischief) since it was motivated (allegedly) by hate.

eeyore on July 30, 2007 at 4:39 PM

All the kid had to do was say it was “performance art”.
Wait…
Sorry, that concept only applies to pictures of Mary in elephant dung or dipping crucifixes in urine.

Why don’t we begin prosecutting muslims for their hate crimes? Tacit approval for murdering every single Isrealite, beating women to death, and killing all infedils seems to be pretty hatefull to me.

Wyrd on July 30, 2007 at 4:43 PM

This hate crime law is way over the top. If someone sends you an ethnic joke e-mail and the feds find it in your e-mail, they can hit you for a hate crime. A gun dealer lost his license in California because he refused to sell a pistol to an illegal alien, and the alien filed a descrimination suit on him. During the investigation they took the dealers computer and found a joke in his E-mail in box. It was considered evidence for hate.

saiga on July 30, 2007 at 4:43 PM

So let me get this straight.

This is crime because he did not own the Korans. This is a “hate crime” because the Korans were flushed with “malice”. Flushing two might seem to support some malice.

What if I flush four Bibles a dictionary and some Shakespeare, in a demonstration of my disdain for the Koran and Islam and the contrast of their values, that I declare as a repudiation of the Koran and Islam?

Agrippa2k on July 30, 2007 at 4:44 PM

Nationwide would be a good idea.

Here in my town some Palestinian college kids started a fight at a QUAKER college against football players. The Palestinians got beat up, but then they claimed they were victims of a ‘hate crime’. The media fell all over themselves to demonize these football players for committing these ‘hate crimes’. The teachers signed petitions against the football players, students held candlelight vigils against ‘hate’ where these three palestinian thugs were worshipped as rock stars. They called the football players priviledged athletes (the usual names). It’s a Div. 3 college where athletes don’t even get scholarships.

Nonetheless their lawyer called a press conference and said they would drop the charges if they ‘apologized’. They did nothing wrong, still some apologized anyway but one did not. I didn’t want them to. After about a month of this BS, the DA threw the case out for lack of evidence. Hence, the apology they were requesting was for doing nothing but defending themselves.

During the time from the indictment to the dropping of the charges, three thugs went to the campus to look for the football players (they were up to no good). They were of middle eastern descent I found out from some reports on the internet. . . but the local news just called them three unidentified individuals.

Needless to say the football players names, pictures, races (3 black, 3 white) were plastered all over the news EVERY night.

The Islamofacist police is going to create hatred in this country before it is over. The media is going to try everything they can to not cover anything bad about Islam, but it’s going to be bad. There will be a backlash. There will be hate crimes.

ThackerAgency on July 30, 2007 at 4:45 PM

What if I flush four Bibles a dictionary and some Shakespeare, in a demonstration of my disdain for the Koran and Islam and the contrast of their values, that I declare as a repudiation of the Koran and Islam?

Agrippa2k on July 30, 2007 at 4:44 PM

I suppose that if they are your books and your toilet, then you’re good.

see-dubya on July 30, 2007 at 4:36 PM

That’s certainly disgusting, but it doesn’t change my opinion of the crime. Even with the Mary covered in elephant dung I was angered that tax dollars funded it but never wanted the artist thrown in jail.

Esthier on July 30, 2007 at 4:48 PM

All this is making me think about is the power in, say, going to a bookstore and buying a few cheap Korans, and start dumping them here and there in toilets at a major university.

Compare it, say, to a stiff limb. The first time you bend or extend it, it hurts. When you keep doing it, you can ignore the pain, because you need to get up and walk.

Wonder how many times certain expressions need to be made before it stops hurting to fight a murderous religion who wants us silenced…

MadisonConservative on July 30, 2007 at 4:50 PM

Here is a question. If it was in a library – was it a “true Koran” or was it an English translation?

If the “meditation room” was multi use, there would have been other books there too. Next to or even touching it.

A true Koran MUST be in Arabic. So if it was a translation, this is just a book, essentially with Koran as the tittle on the cover.

A “library” book is supposed to be “touched”. A true Koran must NOT be touched by “unbelievers”. It should have been forbidden for a true Koran to be placed in a library in the first place where anyone could touch it.

However, if it was a book in Arabic, which this guy could not read – that lends toward malice. Also, I am concerned to think that pages may be missing, and what they may have been used for – in the bathroom.

Should it come out that this guy wiped his ass with a few pages, all hell is gonna break loose.

Agrippa2k on July 30, 2007 at 4:58 PM

Law school exam hypothetical:

A intends to kill B, a Muslim, out of hatred for Muslims. A shoots B but misses him and accidentally hits the Koran B is carrying.

What is A charged with?

B shouts obscenities at A, who hits B, grabs the Koran, and flushes it down a toilet. The toilet overflows, causing damage to the ceiling below. A piece of ceiling hits C in the head, causing serious injury.

What is A charged with now? Does it matter if C is also a Muslim?

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on July 30, 2007 at 5:00 PM

If prosecutors need hate crimes to prosecute, why don’t they talk to Al-Mustaqim, a webmaster hosting an Islamist forum in New Jersey who is expounding on what a fine thing the London Tube bombings were:

“The benefit of the attack on the London Underground is [that] it brought home [to the British people] that they are no longer [immune] to the [attacks] of the mujahideen. Just as they kill our people, so will they be killed; just as they kill our children, so will their children be killed; and just as they destroy our cities, so will their cities be destroyed.”

And we’re persecuting some guy who abused a Koran? Sheesh!

Tantor on July 30, 2007 at 5:05 PM

His big mistake was to flush the school’s Koran. Without the mischief charge there’s no case here. The next case will involve someone flushing his own koran.

After this poor guy gets convicted look for a wave of koran-in-toilet action. But remember: BYOK – Bring Your Own Koran.

Thomas the Wraith on July 30, 2007 at 5:11 PM

List of acceptable things to flush:

The Bible
The Constitution
The Declaration on Independence
The Bill of Rights
The American Flag
A portrait of the President, Pope, any non-muslim leader, JESUS

On-my-soap-box on July 30, 2007 at 5:13 PM

Tantor on July 30, 2007 at 5:05 PM

Wow. I clicked on your link, then followed Memri’s footnote link to the site. Taken down already! (Hope they got the SOB too.)

IrishEi on July 30, 2007 at 5:16 PM

I seem to remember an “artiste” who place a crucifix of Jesus Christ in a glass of urine. This masterpiece was called “Piss Christ” and was considered art by the lefties. Can someone explain the difference here? Please????????

bloggless on July 30, 2007 at 5:24 PM

After looking at the charge, because university security officer Tressel is listed as the “informant” advising of the crime and the “custodian” of the property, the university owned the property and is the victim. This should be resolved in the university’s administrative disciplinary system, not as a felony or even a misdemeanor. Those drafting the hate class statute could not have envisioned that the two acts would lead to felony charges. Especially when there is no direct link to a protected hate-class victim.

MTR

MTR

KCtheKat on July 30, 2007 at 5:29 PM

So if I state that it is against Christian law to deface a bible or verbally attack it, I can get someone thrown in jail on a hate crime? As a felony, meaning they can’t vote?

Okay, I think I have an idea on how the right can win for sure next election.

right2bright on July 30, 2007 at 5:30 PM

MadisonConservative on July 30, 2007 at 4:50 PM

I had a similar though after the big controversy over the Pope’s statements about Islam.

I started thinking, if everyone (or at least, a good majority of people) around the world said something considered and insult to Islam, wouldn’t we all be back on an even playing field? The Pope wouldn’t have been more or less incendiary than anyone else. Furthermore, perhaps they’d start to get used to hearing adverse things about their religion so it wouldn’t be such a riot-provoking shock to them anymore.

JadeNYU on July 30, 2007 at 5:31 PM

Can someone explain the difference here? Please????????

bloggless on July 30, 2007 at 5:24 PM

The crucifix was his own and bought with his own money? I’m guessing.

Esthier on July 30, 2007 at 5:34 PM

Can someone explain the difference here? Please????????

bloggless on July 30, 2007 at 5:24 PM

1. Insulting Christians
2. Called it art

That makes it ok!

On-my-soap-box on July 30, 2007 at 5:40 PM

The Islamofacist police is going to create hatred in this country before it is over………..There will be a backlash.

ThackerAgency on July 30, 2007 at 4:45 PM

Yes there will. And the backlash will be in response to Islamist hatred of us, not the other way around as they would have everyone believe. Hate begets hate, war begets war, and the patience of the American people will not last forever.

infidel4life on July 30, 2007 at 5:42 PM

Esthier – yes, the key to the Pace U case is that the Korans were university property. That was Shmulevich’s big mistake. He should have spent the $5 at Barnes and Noble and gotten his own Koran. Then he could do whatever he wanted. The clearest parallel I can think of is the flag burning case a few months ago when the moonbats burned a flag – attached to someone’s else’s house. You can burn you own flag or flush your own Koran but not mine.

Big takeaway for all future Koran-flushers out there: Get your own copy. You can get free copies online or at almost any regular bookstore. Get the small cheap copies. Perfect flushig size.

Thomas the Wraith on July 30, 2007 at 5:43 PM

He raises a good point. Muslims cry that the danish cartoons insulted and enraged a billion Muslims. Well how many billions of Christians and Jews are outraged by 9/11 and suicide bombings in Israel and all over the world? We have a right to be enraged and insulted by the continuous bloody slaughtering of innocents in the name of Islam. I think those crimes are a little worse than cartoons or books in toilets.

Keli on July 30, 2007 at 5:45 PM

There will be a backlash. There will be hate crimes.

….. about three nanoseconds after the next attack occurs here at home.

That will coincide with the first time American-Muslims gather the courage to criticize their jihadist brothers, which by then will be too late. When buildings are falling and more innocents are dying again, we will paint them all with the same brush.

Sorry. Human nature.

fogw on July 30, 2007 at 5:52 PM

Would it be a hatecrime to hate the fraudulent and anti-First Amendment idea of the “hatecrime” itself?

Is it a crime to object to being hated? By intolerant, misogynistic, vile and violent dogmas in the Koran? Or is it a crime to respond to the threats in the Koran by trying to place such hateful material where it symbolically belongs?

Stan S. needs to countersue Islam for promoting hateful, bigoted, and vicious “relgious” tenets via the Koran.

profitsbeard on July 30, 2007 at 6:00 PM

Big takeaway for all future Koran-flushers out there: Get your own copy. You can get free copies online or at almost any regular bookstore. Get the small cheap copies. Perfect flushig size.

Thomas the Wraith on July 30, 2007 at 5:43 PM

Though I’d also assume if flushing a Koran caused any damage to property that isn’t yours, you could still be running a serious legal risk.

Esthier on July 30, 2007 at 6:03 PM

Would it be a hatecrime to hate the fraudulent and anti-First Amendment idea of the “hatecrime” itself?

How about, since the Constitution is a living document, does it hate itself? Should we hate it and call it intolerant because it mentions GOD? Should we jail anybody who wants to uphold the Constitution? Is that why we now use the Koran to swear in Politicians? I just need some answers.

/sarc off

On-my-soap-box on July 30, 2007 at 6:12 PM

So abusing the Koran in the middle east will get
you death,and you won,t get the luxury of 15 years
of appeals.
So are they trying to import this penalty to the West!

canopfor on July 30, 2007 at 7:16 PM

I need to find a free Koran and Piss on it….All the while wishing that Mohammed and his followers burn in hell for eternity. I’d make a great piece of artwork….

Tim Burton on July 30, 2007 at 9:35 PM

The Hitchman makin copies!

sonnyspats1 on July 30, 2007 at 11:07 PM

Just tie the student to the whipping post and beat him with 100 lashes with a rhino hide whip, or a bamboo cane, or some other excruciatingly painful tool of torture, then sever the student’s hands and pluck out his eyes.

Isn’t that enough to satisfy the lust for vengeance against him, his offense to Islam and Muslims, and his “hate crime?”

And that would probably be considered “mercy,” or letting him off easy.

William

William2006 on July 31, 2007 at 4:10 AM

This “hate crime” accusation will never stick.

awake on July 31, 2007 at 9:05 AM

A lot of venting here (how appropriate (grin)).

I enjoy a good rant myself, every now and then.

But nobody is talking about really working to stop CAIR (an arm of Hamas, after all) from continuing on with this kind of stuff. Pissing on Korans and flushing them down toilets doesn’t get CAIR (and all those “muslim student associations” AKA “College Jihadists”) to cease their activities.

Their imams are practicing hijacking an airliner. So, they are suing because some people complained. They’re collecting money to kill innocent people in the middle east, and scream with umbrage when caught. NO DOUBT they are planning terrorist strikes here at home.

So, we need a nation-wide plan to stop these people. CAIR is a small group (as umbrella advocacy groups go). They can be bankrupted. The FBI could put them out of business if ordered to do so. And their terrorist connections could earn them prison terms at Gitmo.

Note, I am not talking about Muslims in general. I am specifically referring to an organization that IS PART OF A TERRORIST FRONT, that is working very hard here in the USA to institute an “Islamic Republic.”

I’m not advocating breaking the law, but Hitchens is right. This back-door sneaking shaira law into the USA has got to stop. But I don’t know how to do it besides filing a whole bunch of expensive law suits against CAIR.

I suppose we could pony up dollars and run full page ads denouncing CAIR and their behavior in the major Sunday papers — assuming that they leftist MSM would allow us to. Which I doubt they’d do. We could put up billboards with the same message. Unlike the unemployed “students” of the left, it’s hard for us to organize a nationwide protest, complete with signs and so on. That’s not really our style, because unlike the left, we aren’t a bunch of yammering sh*theads.

So, how do we deal with this?

georgej on July 31, 2007 at 9:22 AM

So let me get this straight.

This is crime because he did not own the Korans. This is a “hate crime” because the Korans were flushed with “malice”. Flushing two might seem to support some malice.

What if I flush four Bibles a dictionary and some Shakespeare, in a demonstration of my disdain for the Koran and Islam and the contrast of their values, that I declare as a repudiation of the Koran and Islam?

Agrippa2k on July 30, 2007 at 4:44 PM

…That’s not really our style, because unlike the left, we aren’t a bunch of yammering sh*theads.

So, how do we deal with this?

georgej on July 31, 2007 at 9:22 AM

STYLES CHANGE. Maybe we need to adjust ours just a little? Here’s a suggestion starting with “Performance Art”: (this is easier if one imagines Joe Pesci in his role as Leo Getz in Lethal Weapon 2)”Okay, okay, how about we get a Koran, a couple of pork chops, a copy of Hustler Magazine and the Danish cartoons of Mohammed, put them all in a blender with some red paint and write ‘F*ck Terrorism’ all over the new foot baths installed at Pace University… “

NightmareOnKStreet on July 31, 2007 at 1:52 PM

The only way to deal with it is to do a variation of why our first settlers came to this country in the 1600s. They came to avoid religious persecution. Remember, 50% of this country right now support varying degrees of the Left, as evidenced by our deadlocked Presidential and congressional elections, and support for the persecution of Christians and Jews by the ACLU. As far as ‘illegals’, currently we have a few citys and countys enacting ordinances to deal with the ‘illegals’ – in essence trying to get rid of them to keep their communities as they were, in defiance of the worthless Federal G, thereby, creating ‘islands’ free of these ‘illegals’ denegrating their lives. The same thing will happen with the ‘muslim problem’. Communities, maybe as large as states, will do the same thing, freeing themselves from religious persecution by the islamists. I put it this way, because I don’t think the problems will be solved by violence, as they were in the past, the Civil War, etc., but by a separation from the problem. People will say, ‘alright, you want muslims and illegals in your neighborhood, fine, WE DON’T’. Just as there is a big migration from European communities to New Zealand to get away from their ‘muslim problem’ changing (ruining) their communities. Of course, this is all just a thought. As a wise man once said ‘we shall see what we shall see’.

countywolf on July 31, 2007 at 2:20 PM

“…but by a separation from the problem. People will say, ‘alright, you want muslims and illegals in your neighborhood, fine, WE DON’T…’
countywolf on July 31, 2007 at 2:20 PM

I’m not sure I understand what you’re suggesting by “separation from the problem”, do you mean divide up the area (block/city/county/etc)? Like they did in a classic episode of “I Love Lucy” (when Lucy refused to clean up after Ricky so they divided their apartment down the middle with masking tape)? I’m pretty sure that didn’t work for them and it won’t/can’t work here either. Not when radical Muslims want us D-E-A-D no matter which side of the tape/ocean we find ourselves.

NightmareOnKStreet on July 31, 2007 at 2:54 PM

KStreet you’re absolutley right about them wanting us dead. By ‘separation’ I was trying to be diplomatic. Of course it would be with proper borders and FENCING, which our current Feds don’t believe in, with patrols to keep it secure. I feel there’s jerks in this country that actually want this so-called sharia law. Once this group becomes big enough, there might be violence, just like in Iraq. I was just hoping for a way to be left apart and hopefull safe from these 6th century creatures. I suppose it’s just a dream, and history will repeat itself. We’ll have to fight and defeat these ‘people’ all over again, hopefully for good.

countywolf on July 31, 2007 at 4:01 PM