NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A new Tennessee attorney general opinion says judges can apply hate crime enhancements when sentencing cases that target transgender individuals.
State Attorney General Herbert Slatery issued the opinion on Feb. 8 after receiving a request from Democratic Rep. Mike Stewart seeking clarity on the issue.
Tennessee is one of the few states that does not have an explicit hate crime law. However, judges are allowed to consider hate crime factors when sentencing defendants for crimes against people based on race, religion, color, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry or gender.
Slatery says the law is applicable because defendants who commit crimes against transgender individuals are doing so in part because of the person’s gender.