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Mitchell v. Wisconsin: Why Mitchell v. Wisconsin Sucked
On June 11, 1993, the United State Supreme Court upheld Wisconsin's
penalty enhancement law, which imposes harsher sentences on criminals who
"intentionally select the person against whom the crime...is committed..because
of the race, religion, color, disability, sexual orientation, national origin
or ancestry of that person." Chief Justice Rehnquist deliverd the opinion of
the unanimous Court. This paper argues against the decision, and will attempt
to prove the unconstitutionality of such penalty enhancement laws.
On the evening of October 7, 1989, Mitchell and a group of young black
men attacked and severely beat a lone white boy. The group had just finished
watching the film "Mississippi Burning", in which a young black boy was, while
praying, beaten by a white man. After the film, the group moved outside and
Mitchell asked if they felt "hyped up to move on some white people". When the
white boy approached Mitchell said, "You all want to fuck somebody up? There
goes a white boy, Go get him." The boy was left unconscious, and remained in
a coma for four days. Mitchell was convicted of aggravated battery, which
carries a two year maximum sentence. The Wisconsin jury, however, found that
because Mitchell selected his victim based on race, the penalty enhancement law
allowed Mitchell to be sentenced to up to seven years. The jury sentenced
Mitchell to four years, twice the maximum for the cri...