Is hate speech a thought crime
Thought Crimes in History [closed]
Has there ever been a law anywhere in history that criminalizes certain thoughts? I mean a law that says thinking certain thoughts is illegal. I don't mean a law that says expressing certain thoughts is illegal. I don't mean a law that criminalizes certain actions that are accompanied by certain thoughts. I mean a law that says just thinking about certain thoughts is illegal.
The next one I can find is the Treason Act 1351 which is still in force in the UK today. This criminalizes compassing or imagining the death of the king. However, the law goes on to state that it is necessary that the perpetrator be informed of the overt act so that this is not a pure thought crime.
I am not counting the laws of religious bodies, just the laws of states.
Denis de Bernardy
Mark C. Wallace ♦
In many jurisdictions, the State of mind of the perpetrator affect the punishment of a crime, or even if an act constitutes a crime. The old Latin term is Mens Rea.
Killing for self-defense is a good example. It is not a crime if the perpetrator acted in the genuine belief that he or she was attacked, but it is a crime if the perpetrator did not believe it. Of course, the court cannot read minds, so it will look at "reasonable people" standards or other evidence to determine the state of mind. Still the intention is Actions to punish for the wrong motives.
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