Verdict In Texas Cross Burning Case "Sends A Clear Message"
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) welcomed a court's decision to convict one of four juveniles involved in a hate crime in Santa Fe, Texas and send him to the Texas Youth Commission (TYC). The court judged the state's contention "true" that the juvenile had committed a state jail felony and upgraded it to a third degree felony using the James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Law. In addition to sentencing the juvenile to TYC, the court ordered the boy's parents to pay restitution to Margaret Lewis, the victim of the hate crime.
On April 23, a cross was burned on Ms. Lewis' lawn, a noose was hung from a tree in her front yard, a swastika was drawn on the door of her garage and a racial epithet was spray-painted in her driveway. Four juvenile suspects were arrested in the case. Today's verdict is the result of the adjudication of the first suspect.
ADL Regional Director Martin B. Cominsky thanked Galveston County law enforcement and prosecutors for their efficient work in the case: "We appreciate the responsible action of the Santa Fe Police and the successful prosecution of one of the defendants by the Galveston County District Attorney's office. We feel the juvenile referee made the right decision in the case—a decision that sends a clear message that hate crimes are wrong, will not be tolerated, and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
"Given the young age of the suspects, we are reminded that teaching understanding and respect for others in the home and school is vital. ADL stands ready to help anyone who wants to promote an appreciation for diversity and make their community No Place for Hate®," Cominsky added.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.