On September 28, 2010, 13-year-old Seth Walsh was pronounced dead after sustaining injuries from apparently hanging himself from a tree in his backyard on September 19.
According to a police report, emergency personnel found Walsh unconscious and not breathing after attempting to commit suicide. He had reportedly been subject to years of alleged bullying because he was gay, including alleged bullying on the day he died.
Police interviewed some of the children who had allegedly bullied Walsh on the day he died. A police official stated that several of the children broke down in tears after being informed of Walsh’s apparent suicide attempt and stated that they never expected this outcome. Police determined that, despite the tragic consequence, no hate crime against Walsh had been committed and no charges have been filed.
Under California Penal Code section 422.6, “No person, whether or not acting under color of law, shall by force or threat of force, willfully injure, intimidate, interfere with, oppress, or threaten any other person in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him or her by the Constitution or laws of this state or by the Constitution or laws of the United States in whole or in part because of one or more of the actual or perceived characteristics of the victim listed in subdivision (a) of Section 422.55.” Penal Code section 422.55 is a hate crime law and punishes discrimination based on several actual or perceived characteristics of the victim, including sexual orientation.
If you or someone you know has been accused of a hate crime or a crime related to bullying, you will need a Southern California criminal defense attorney who will aggressively represent you against these serious charges. At Wallin & Klarich, we have helped people accused of a variety of a charges, including hate crimes. Call us today at (888) 280-6839 or visit us at our website at www.wklaw.com. We will be there when you call.