Albuquerque, NM, November 15, 2010 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the first indictments obtained by federal authorities under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (the "HCPA") since its enactment in October 2009.
"We commend the joint efforts by law enforcement officials in Washington, D.C. and New Mexico to seek justice for a disabled Navajo man in New Mexico who was the victim of a vicious and gruesome hate crime," said David Buchholtz, ADL New Mexico Regional Board Chair, and Susan Seligman, ADL New Mexico Regional Director. "This case underscores the importance of the new federal law, which has enabled the New Mexico FBI and the Farmington, NM Police Department to work together with prosecutors from the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, the local U.S. Attorney's Office and the San Juan County District Attorney's Office. The charges are serious and appropriate, and demonstrate the practical value of providing law enforcement officials charged with responding to bias-motivated violence with appropriate legal tools to meet that challenge."
ADL was privileged to lead a broad coalition of civil rights, religious, educational, professional, law enforcement, and civic organizations that worked in support of the HCPA for more than a decade. A pioneer in advocating for hate crimes legislation, the League published its first model hate crimes statute almost 30 years ago. Forty-five states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws based on or similar to the ADL model.