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University students charged with hate crimes

It's the year 2013, but hate crime allegations still fly as racism pervades even pristine college campuses. California prosecutors are pursuing assault and battery charges against three San Jose State University students after they allegedly terrorized their African-American roommate through physical violence and repeated taunting, according to authorities. The trio, ages 18 and 19, will be required to mount a criminal defense against misdemeanor hate crime charges in addition to allegations of physical violence.

The African-American student was reportedly subject to racist decorations throughout the four-room suite, including a Confederate flag and Nazi symbols. A racial epithet had been written on a dry erase board in the 17-year-old victim's suite. The behavior was not identified until the teen's parents came to visit him at school, at which point they reported the harassment to school officials, who then went to the police.

In addition to the decorations, the young man had a bike lock put around his neck that caused minor injury. He was also given racist nicknames such as "Three-Fifths," a reference to the fact that slaves only counted as three-fifths of white voters in an early version of the U.S. Constitution.

The defendants in this case could face up to a years' time in county jail if they are convicted of the crime. They have also been suspended from school, though it is not clear if expulsion is pending in the case. School and community officials say their first priority is the protection of the student who was victimized; they are dismayed that the teen's other suite-mates did not report the treatment to dorm leaders.

In this case, the teens are charged with a misdemeanor crime with a relatively light maximum sentence. A qualified criminal defense attorney can help these boys move on with their lives and return to college as quickly as possible, despite the incendiary nature of the charges they face.

Source: www.cnn.com, "3 San Jose State students charged with hate crime against black roommate" Michael Martinez, Nov. 22, 2013

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