DOJ did not prosecute 82% of hate crime suspects reported from 2005 to 2019: report

DOJ did not prosecute 82% of hate crime suspects reported from 2005 to 2019: report
Donald Trump supporters outside the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021, Tyler Merbler

The U.S. Department of Justice declined to prosecute the vast majority of hate crime suspects from 2005 to 2019, according to a newly-released report.

Axios highlighted details from the Justice Department's latest hate crimes report on "Improving The Department's Efforts To Combat Hate Crimes And Hate Incidents" which was released publicly this week.

The report noted that federal prosecutors conducted preliminary investigations into 1,878 suspects who were allegedly involved in potential hate crime cases. The Justice Department only opted to move forward with prosecution in 17% of the cases while another 1% of the cases were tossed out of court by U.S. magistrates.

Prosecutors ultimately refused to institute legal proceedings for 1,548 cases over the 14-year span. While a number of reasons collectively contributed to the DOJ's decision, there were two main reasons that caused the DOJ to decline prosecution.

A lack of substantial evidence was the reason why they declined to prosecute 55% of the cases. The second most common reason for their decline to prosecute was due to "the prioritization of federal resources." However, the report also highlights the increase in conviction rates among the defendants that actually were prosecuted.

Per Axios:

"The report also said that of those crimes that were reported, the conviction rate increased from 83% between 2005 and 2009 to 94% between 2015 and 2019. About 85% of defendants convicted were sent to prison for an average term of 7.5 years."

The release of the report follows U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland's, announcement of his six-step plan to address the uptick in hate crimes across the United States. The attorney general has also confirmed that he will direct the Justice Department to increase its resources and work to improve its collaborative efforts with state, local, and tribal partners.

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