Florida's Hate Crimes statute (Fla. Stat. § 775.085 (2008))

§ 775.085. Evidencing prejudice while committing offense; reclassification

(1) (a) The penalty for any felony or misdemeanor shall be reclassified as provided in this subsection if the commission of such felony or misdemeanor evidences prejudice based on the race, color, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, mental or physical disability, or advanced age of the victim:

1. A misdemeanor of the second degree is reclassified to a misdemeanor of the first degree.

2. A misdemeanor of the first degree is reclassified to a felony of the third degree.

3. A felony of the third degree is reclassified to a felony of the second degree.

4. A felony of the second degree is reclassified to a felony of the first degree.

5. A felony of the first degree is reclassified to a life felony.

(b) As used in paragraph (a), the term:

1. “Mental or physical disability” means that the victim suffers from a condition of physical or mental incapacitation due to a developmental disability, organic brain damage, or mental illness, and has one or more physical or mental limitations that restrict the victim’s ability to perform the normal activities of daily living.

2. “Advanced age” means that the victim is older than 65 years of age.

(2) A person or organization that establishes by clear and convincing evidence that it has been coerced, intimidated, or threatened in violation of this section has a civil cause of action for treble damages, an injunction, or any other appropriate relief in law or in equity. Upon prevailing in such civil action, the plaintiff may recover reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.

(3) It is an essential element of this section that the record reflect that the defendant perceived, knew, or had reasonable grounds to know or perceive that the victim was within the class delineated in this section.

***bLAWgger note: this is posted for those watching the Ryan Skipper murder trial. For a little history on the case, go to http://insession.blogs.cnn.com/2009/02/26/jury-deliberates-today-in-florida-murder-trial/.

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