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There was an attack on April 27 during a Passover service at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in San Diego County. John Earnest, 20, was charged with the shooting event at the Southern California synagogue. Earnest pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder on Thursday, October 3. He was accused of hate crime-related murder, attempted murder, in addition to other charges.


John Earnest is a nursing student at California State University-San Marcos which was reported from his recovered manifesto. According to prosecutors, Earnest used a semi-automatic rifle to open fire on the synagogue.  Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, was killed as a result of the attack. Three others were wounded, one of the injured parties was an 8-year-old girl. A rabbi was also injured in the shooting and lost a finger. After the shooting Earnest allegedly called 911 to inform the authorities of his actions at the synagogue. He was reported to have said that Jews were trying to “destroy all white people.”


In addition to the synagogue shooting, Earnest also had previous hate-related charges. In March he set a fire at a mosque, luckily there were no injuries.


Hate Crimes in California

There is a difference between hate crimes and hate incidents. A hate incident is one where the actions of an individual are inspired by hate. Through First Amendment protections, these actions are protected under the right to freedom of expression. Hate incidents can be any of the following actions:


  • Name-calling
  • Insults
  • Distributing hate materials in public places
  • Displaying hate material on private property


Hate speech is permitted via the United States Constitution if it doesn’t encroach on the civil rights of others. When a hate incident becomes threatening to another individual or property the behavior can become a hate crime. There are a number of different classifications for hate crimes. Many of them are protected under the law.


In the state of California, there are responses and penalties for hate crimes. Through the California Department of Justice, resources and assistance are made available to local, state, and federal authorities for help with investigations of these crimes. The investigations aim to identify, arrest, prosecute, and convict those who have committed hate crimes. The public is strongly encouraged to report hate crimes when they have information on them or if they witness them. A person who has information about a hate crime can file a report with the local police or sheriff’s department.


Find Legal Representation For Your Violent Crime

If you have been charged with violent crimes California, seek the assistance of a resourceful Southern California violent crime attorney at Manshoory Law Group, APC. The stakes are high if you have been charged with serious crimes such as murder, and you could be looking at a life lived behind bars. You need the help and guidance of a criminal defense lawyer who understands the laws in California and has experience representing individuals in a similar situation. The Los Angeles murder defense attorneys at Manshoory Law Group, APC are committed to working with you through your entire experience and putting extensive time into preparing for your defense.


Don’t hesitate to call us and set up a free consultation to discuss your situation with one of our aggressive Southern California criminal defense lawyers at 877-977-7750 anytime day or night.

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