Maryland strengthens hate crime law named after slain Bowie State student as new laws take effect

Maryland is strengthening its hate crime law so prosecutors don’t have to prove that hate was the only motivating factor in committing a crime, as new laws take effect this week.

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Previously, the law applied to someone who committed crimes against a person or group because of race, color, religious belief, sexual orientation, gender, disability or national origin.

But the change expands it to apply if crimes are motivated “either in whole or in substantial part” due to those factors.

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The law is named after 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III, a Black student at Bowie State University who was fatally stabbed in 2017 at the University of Maryland, College Park.