Hate Crime Murder Found to Violate Fair Housing Law

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This week, two young men who killed Mexican immigrant Luis Ramirez in a July 12, 2008, hate crime in Shenandoah, Pa., were sentenced to nine years in prison, but it wasn't for the hate crime. They were convicted based on "a felony violation of the federal Fair Housing Act for fatally beating Luis Ramirez because he was Latino and because they did not want Latinos living in Shenandoah," The U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division said in a press release.

In an editorial in Philadelphia's Al Día, editors write that this measure of justice is better than the "parody of justice" the local Shenandoah jury carried out in 2009, when they found the teens not guilty of the crime.

But editors write that justice was served this week "in the most Kafkaesque, nightmarishly bizarre way." The conviction was based on the violation of the Fair Housing Act—preventing a Latino man from living in Shenandoah—and not for the crime of murder.

The conviction, editors write, is "reminiscent of the kind of justice brought against one of the most notorious mafia criminals in American history, Al Capone, who only served prison terms for tax evasion and contempt of court, and not for his numerous extortions, assaults, or murders.