Stop Homophobia


Editorial 26 - March 2006 - Justice in the Courts

Far too many gay bashers are walking away with low sentences. In some cases, the sentences for men who killed gay men have been very light. An example of that comes from Canada, where some of the men who were convicted of killing Aaron Webster were given such light sentences that it brought into serious question the credibility of the police, the prosecutors and the judges involved in the cases. For example, one of the men convicted of Aaron Webster's murder was allowed to remain free on bail, between the time he was convicted and the time he was sentenced. In this case, the court system let a man who was convicted in the murder of Aaron Webster remain free until he was sentenced. The fact that those who are involved in hate crimes should be allowed to walk the streets as free people, because they have not been sentenced yet, makes the court system look like a kangaroo court.

Because the victims of hate crimes against gay people are not always able trust the police to adequately investigate the crimes, trust the prosecutors to vigorously prosecute, or trust the judges to give reasonable sentences, it might be necessary for gay people to seek other legal methods of justice. Douglas Janoff, in the book Pink Blood: Homophobic Violence in Canada, makes a number of excellent suggestions about obtaining justice. He indicates victims can seek private prosecutions or punitive damages from gay bashers. Many people may remember the case of OJ Simpson. While OJ Simpson was not found guilty of the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman in criminal court, civil courts imposed a large damages judgment against OJ Simpson for the murders. A Court TV article states OJ Simpson was ordered to pay the victims' families $33.5 million.

The victims of hate crimes may want to consider the option of seeking damages in civil courts. Seeking damages through the courts is a way of obtaining justice, when the criminal justice system fails the victims.

The opinions expressed in this editorial are not those of Douglas Janoff. Pink Blood: Homophobic Violence in Canada is written by Douglas Janoff. The book can be purchased through Amazon Canada
Amazon.Com. The book is highly recommended to anybody interested in homophobia and violence aimed at gay people.