Updates on Extremism and the Law
A San Francisco jury convicted a man of a felony hate crime charge of false imprisonment stemming from a bizarre encounter with Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, but cleared him of five other felonies. Eric Hunt also was convicted of two misdemeanors. The prosecution portrayed Hunt as an anti-Semitic stalker who followed the famous author across the country and pulled him out of a hotel elevator in 2007. Hunt's lawyer said his client was mentally ill, not an anti-Semite.
An Ocala, Fla., federal judge ordered actor Wesley Snipes to pay $217,363 to the government for the costs of prosecuting his tax evasion case. Snipes was convicted in February of three misdemeanor charges of failing to file tax returns. Snipes was a member of Eddie Ray Kahn's American Rights Litigators, described by officials as an illegal tax-evasion scheme informed by radical-right ideas. Kahn and another man were convicted of felony charges in the case.
A federal appeals court upheld a ban on clothing adorned with the Confederate battle flag that was imposed by a high school in Maryville, Tenn. Three students and their parents said the ban violated their free speech rights. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals noted there had been racial incidents at the school and said school officials could "reasonably forecast" that the flag clothing could lead to disruptions.
A judge in Santa Ana, Calif., sentenced Michael Lamb to death for the slaying of fellow white supremacist Scott Miller, a founding member of the gang Public Enemy
No. 1. Prosecutors said that Lamb killed Miller in 2002 in retaliation for talking about the gang on television.
Two men who called themselves "Aryan soldiers" pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the stomping death of a homeless man sleeping in a downtown Reno, Nev., park. Witnesses said that Christopher Michael Maciolek and Finley Byrdette Fultz had been yelling "white pride."
The California Supreme Court upheld the death penalty for Gunner Lindberg, the first person in the state sentenced to die for a racially motivated murder. Lindberg was convicted in the 1996 slaying of Thien Minh Ly, who was stabbed more than 50 times as he was in-line skating at a high school in Tustin. The state high court concluded that Lindberg "was a racist who regarded non-whites as subhuman."
The conviction of reputed Ku Klux Klan member James Ford Seale on charges related to the murder of two black Mississippi teenagers in 1964 was overturned by a federal appeals court which ruled that the statute of limitations had expired. The government will appeal. Seale had been serving three life sentences following his conviction in 2007 on charges of kidnapping and conspiracy in the abductions of two 19-year-old men in Franklin County, Miss. Their bodies were found in the Mississippi River two months after they disappeared.
The leader of the Ventura, Calif.-based Confederation of Racialist Working Class Skinheads pleaded guilty to six felonies and admitted committing a hate crime when he led an attack on a Latino bouncer in 2005. Ian Eugene Morrow subsequently was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
A San Francisco judge sentenced Marjorie Knoller to 15 years to life in prison for second-degree murder in the dog-mauling death of a neighbor. Knoller and her husband and law partner, Robert Noel, obtained two Presa Canarios — including one weighing 140 pounds — from a pair of prison inmates who were in the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang. They legally adopted one of the felons. Knoller was convicted in 2002, but a judge reduced the charge. The California Supreme Court reversed that judge, and Whipple was sentenced anew.
Indianapolis racist skinhead Timothy Dumas was sentenced to one year in prison for beating up a black homeless man. He and two other defendants in the attack were reputed to have ties to the Vinlanders Social Club. One of Dumas' co-defendants received a two-year sentence earlier. The other got 60 days in jail.