Federal Sentencing Guidelines Amended to Include Gender Identity

Changes to will go into effect November 1, unless Congress disaproves.

source the Leadership Confrence: The U.S. Sentencing Commission recently adopted changes to the federal sentencing guidelines to permit crimes in which the victim is intentionally selected on the basis of gender identity to be eligible for sentencing enhancements.

The federal sentencing guidelines are rules that set out a uniform policy for sentencing people convicted of felonies and Class A misdemeanors in federal courts. The new rule will apply to every federal crime and is designed to align federal guidelines with the recently enacted hate crime law, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which authorizes the federal government to investigate and prosecute bias-motivated crimes based on the victim's actual or perceived race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability.

Many civil and human rights organizations supported the proposed changes, including Human Rights Campaign, the Anti-Defamation League, and The Leadership Conference. "This is the first time gender identity has been included in the sentencing guidelines – and another ancillary benefit of enactment of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act," said Michael Lieberman, Washington counsel for the Anti-Defamation League.

The commission has submitted the changes to Congress and if Congress doesn't disapprove them before November 1, they will go into effect. Source The Leadership Confrence, May 14, 2010

Also from HRC:

Source HRC Back Story: "The U.S. Sentencing Commission has promulgated amendments [PDF] to the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines after receiving public comment, including comment submitted in March by the Human Rights Campaign, along with the Anti-Defamation League, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the National Council for Jewish Women. In our public comment, we wrote to ensure that amendments were promulgated to make the Guidelines conform with the recently enacted Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act."

"The amendments promulgated by the Commission broaden the Guidelines to include the new hate crime offense in the criminal division of the Guidelines that applies to “offenses involving individual rights.” The Commission’s amendments also expanded the definition of a hate crime in its penalty enhancement provision to include victims who were targeted because of their gender identity (the penalty enhancement provision of the Guidelines already accounted for hate crimes based on sexual orientation). These amendments are an important step towards fully implementing the federal hate crimes law passed last year, and HRC remains committed to seeing that the federal hate crimes law is well-implemented and firmly enforced."

"The Commission submitted these amendments to Congress on April 29th and they will be enacted if they are not disapproved by Congress before November 1st." Source HRC Back Story may 11, 2010

Great work HRC. Thank you!

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