Anti-Noose Laws

By Wendy Kaminer 

Reacting predictably to spate of noose hanging incidents in late 2007, New York governor David Patterson has signed legislation criminalizing display of a noose with intent to harass or threaten because of bias against the usual categories, including race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability.  The legislation amended existing law prohibiting cross burning or display of a swastika with similar intent.  All three forms of hate speech are punishable by up to four years in prison.  I have little to add to my earlier discussions about this issue, here and here, except to repeat that last fall the New York Civil Liberties Union promised to “study” the noose display amendment; anyone interested in the results of that study should call the NYCLU at 212.607.3300.

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