An inmate in a Texas prison pleaded guilty to violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act when he assaulted another inmate he believed to be gay.
John Hall, currently incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in Seagoville, Texas, attacked an unnamed inmate with a dangerous weapon last December, inflicting facial lacerations and tooth fractures. According to a statement from the Department of Justice, Hall admitted the assault was unprovoked and that he he targeted his victim because of his perceived orientation.
To our knowledge, this is only the second instance where the act has been applied because of the victim’s real or perceived sexual orientation. “This case is just another example of the department’s commitment to the pursuit of justice on behalf of all people regardless of their sexual preference or orientation.” said Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez. “The department will continue to vigorously enforce the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and all the laws under our jurisdiction, to protect the rights of all individuals.”