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DA's first successful hate crime prosecution concludes

Cannizzaro: 'Enhanced punishment was appropriate'

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  Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro's office concluded what it called its first successful hate crime prosecution on Oct. 30. Jamie Hebert pleaded guilty to second-degree battery and violating Louisiana's hate crime statute for his beating of New Orleans resident Dana James. Hebert shouted an anti-gay comment at James, then crossed N. Rampart Street to hit him, knocking James unconscious.

  "This defendant approached and attacked this victim based on nothing more than his sexual orientation," Cannizzaro said. "As such, he constituted not only a threat to this particular victim but the entire homosexual community in this city. Accordingly, the enhanced punishment was appropriate."

  Louisiana's hate crime statute adds penalties to any violent crime if the victim is attacked for his or her race, age, sexual orientation, religion or disability, among other classifications. In addition to a two-year jail sentence for battery, Criminal District Court Judge Julian Parker added three years for hate crime violations, though Hebert remains out of jail on three years' probation.

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