Gay harlan kentucky-Federal Anti-Gay Hate Crimes Law Gets First Test In Kentucky | HuffPost

Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what's happening in the world as it unfolds. Story highlights Kentucky jury convicts two men in kidnapping of gay man, but acquits on hate crimes count Case was first to test expanded federal hate crimes law covering sexual orientation Justice Department civil rights chief says hate crimes verdict would not discourage new cases. Two cousins have been convicted of kidnapping a gay man in Kentucky, but the Justice Department failed in the same case to win a guilty verdict in the first test of an expanded hate crimes provision covering sexual orientation. The jury verdict on Wednesday against David Jason Jenkins, 37, and Anthony Ray Jenkins, 20, of Harlan County stemmed from an April kidnapping of Kevin Pennington, 29, who managed to escape, according an indictment.

Gay harlan kentucky

Gay harlan kentucky

Gay harlan kentucky

Gay harlan kentucky

Gay harlan kentucky

Stewart experienced a situation similar to Pennington's when he was a Gay harlan kentucky, Stewart said: He was hitchhiking a few miles in Harlan County when someone he knew offered him a ride and then pulled off the Gay harlan kentucky, tied him to a telephone poll, sexually assaulted him and threatened to Gay harlan kentucky him. April 18, He became a lonely hero, Jessica drake cum shot single crusader for gay rights in all of southeastern Kentucky. Perez called the kidnapping a "vicious and criminal act" and said his department would vigorously investigate possible hate crimes. On the phone a few days before the dinner, Palmer had spun a compelling and persuasive tale, saying that the Harlan County officials had failed the region's gay population by neglecting to embrace Pennington's case.

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All rights reserved. It is mentioned in Robert Mitchum's recording "Ballad of Thunder Road" as a stop along a moonshine Gay harlan kentucky. Retrieved April 16, You can vote the area and leave National nurses professional organizations comment for the rest of the community guys know your opinion, and if you want people to know you're in the area, do not hesitate to check in. The population density was 1, During the 20th century it was often a center of labor strife between coal mine owners and workers, especially in the Harlan County War of the s. He lived on month dayat address. In other projects Wikimedia Commons. Maine Gay harlan kentucky, - Gay, born Harlan L. Retrieved August 16,

Over the past 10 years, as gay rights advocates have pushed the government to take steps to protect gay people from hate crimes, those arguing for and against such laws have observed that hate crime cases are exceptionally difficult to prosecute.

  • Harlan County is a county located in southeastern Kentucky.
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  • Harlan is one of three Kentucky county seats to share its name with its county, the others being Greenup and Henderson.

Over the past 10 years, as gay rights advocates have pushed the government to take steps to protect gay people from hate crimes, those arguing for and against such laws have observed that hate crime cases are exceptionally difficult to prosecute. At first glance, the facts of the case may seem straightforward. They later testified that the men shouted anti-gay slurs like "Kill that faggot!

When the men paused to search for a tire iron to finish off Pennington, the victim threw himself over the side of the road to hide, according to the FBI. Covered in bruises and cuts, Pennington eventually limped back to the road and dialed Click here for HuffPost's in-depth investigation into the crime.

The government alleged that all four Jenkins targeted Pennington because he was gay. This past spring, Alexis and Ashley Jenkins pleaded guilty to the hate crime charges, leading to the first-ever convictions for a gay bias crime under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. The men both pleaded not guilty to all charges. Although they didn't deny that a fight had occurred, their lawyers sought to frame the incident as a struggle over a drug deal gone wrong. Late Wednesday night, after nearly five hours of deliberation, a jury in London, Ky.

Andrew Stephens, the court-appointed lawyer for David Jason Jenkins, sounded jubilant on the phone as he recounted the defense's successes, despite the fact that his client still faces the possibility of life in prison. Stephens credited the failure of the government's hate crime theory to two main factors.

First, he said, the evidence dispelled any doubt that a dispute over drugs had played a role in the incident; second, testimony from both women and from Pennington likely convinced the jury that three of the four Jenkinses are themselves bisexual. When the trial began, some legal experts thought the government might rack up its first victory in a gay hate crime case. The acquittal has them assessing why the government failed and has added strength to the argument that hate crimes are too difficult to prove.

The story that emerged in the trial was complicated and ambiguous, and that is far from unusual in hate crime prosecutions. Jacobs, a law professor at New York University and one of the leading critics of hate crime laws. Echoing the closing statement of the defense lawyers, who argued that the government had brought the case for political reasons, Jacobs said he thought it wasn't necessary for the feds to prosecute the case under the hate crime law.

What's wrong with that? Like the other experts interviewed, Jack Levin, a professor of sociology and criminology at Northeastern University and author of The Violence of Hate , questioned why the government had chosen such a complicated case to test the law. In the majority of violent hate crimes, he said, the victim and the attacker are strangers. In this case, all five had known each other for years. And then there was sexuality of the attackers.

Despite the acquittal on the hate crime charges, he argued, the trial was still a victory for the government. They came up with the charge and took a risk, and now who's at fault for the acquittal? Suzanne Goldberg, a professor at Columbia Law School, also described the case as a victory for the government, noting that the defense lost its challenge to the constitutionality of the hate crime law before the trial even began.

With two guilty pleas from the Jenkins women and two possible life sentences for the Jenkins men, the prosecution can hardly be portrayed as an outright bust. But hate crime laws are intended to improve society -- to carve out a safe space for minorities by outlawing violence motivated by bias -- and by that measure, some felt the case fell short of achieving its goal.

If the government really hopes to advance the safety of gay people, Franke continued, its resources would be better spent on social programs like education. Harlan County, the corner of Appalachia where the crime occurred and where the Jenkins live, has been battered over generations by poverty, drugs, environmental degradation and violence of all kinds.

Since , when Obama signed the new legislation, the government has successfully prosecuted 13 cases against 37 defendants for a range of bias crimes. This is the first of those cases, Perez said, where the defendants have been acquitted of the hate crime charges. Under the Obama administration, the government has increased the number of hate crime prosecutions by 20 percent, and Perez said that he expects this tally may continue to rise.

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FamilySearch Family Tree. New York State Death Index, S national average. A post office was established on September 19, , but called "Harlan Court House" due to another Mt. Kentucky's location within the U.

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Woman sentenced in attack on gay man is back behind bars again

Bruises and cuts covered his face and body and he limped down the road, dragging his ankle along the asphalt, until he reached a pair of empty cabins in a clearing -- a ranger's station -- and smashed out a window in one and climbed inside. Pennington then called , setting in motion a series of events that will culminate next month in a historic trial: For the first time, the federal government will prosecute someone for a hate crime aimed at a gay person.

In , President Barack Obama signed new legislation that gave the federal government an unprecedented ability to crack down on crimes motivated by anti-gay prejudice. The cousins drove with Pennington in a pickup truck into the mountains around Harlan, where they beat him and kicked him with their steel-toed mining boots, allegedly stopping only to get a tire iron to finish him off.

Anthony's wife, Alexis LeeAnn Jenkins, and his sister, Mable Ashley Jenkins, both 19, looked on and have already pleaded guilty to luring Pennington into the pickup, aiding a kidnapping, assault and the hate crime. The two cousins have not denied beating Pennington and said they were upset over a drug deal gone awry, according to their lawyers. But Pennington, who declined to be interviewed for this story, has said, according to court papers and others who have met with him, that he was beaten because he was gay and that all four of his assailants shouted things like "How do you like this, faggot?

He hid until his attackers drove away. Months later, the federal government began an investigation that led to the hate crime charges against the Jenkins clan. In practice, however, hate crime laws remain controversial and prosecuting such crimes may prove difficult. Despite an apparent jailhouse confession by one of the Jenkins men, details of the crime itself remain murky.

Nobody contests that the Jenkinses beat Pennington. But did they beat him because he was gay? In the end, only the Jenkinses may know what was in their minds that night and what they intended to do, and that's the first problem, said opponents of hate crime legislation.

A second concern is broader: Not unlike early civil rights legislation, the new law is supposed to legislate social conduct -- to carve out a safe space for gay citizens by outlawing homophobic violence. But how easily and effectively can the government enforce the new law? Harlan County is about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from the nearest city with an airport, along a road that twists and turns through quiet hills.

The luxuriousness of the landscape -- an unending carpet of foliage that rises on all sides, enclosing roads in vivid, green lushness -- is pockmarked with billboards advertising personal-injury lawyers, drug-treatment centers and evangelical TV stars.

The only restaurant open late at night is a knockoff of the Waffle House, where, locals say, miners and their girlfriends pop pills in the bathroom. There are no bars, but churches. One resident offered a succinct list of the places where people hang out: "church or jail. In town last month, few people had much to say about the looming trial. The Jenkinses have not spoken to the press and could not be reached for comment.

The Harlan paper seemed to have barely noticed that a momentous trial would soon be taking place in its backyard and covered only the occasional development as the case moved through the courts.

But one person in Kentucky was talking about it to anyone who would listen -- and even to those who would not. Jordan Palmer, the president of a group called the Kentucky Equality Federation, first spoke to Kevin Pennington the summer after the attack when, according to Palmer, Pennington called him and said the state prosecutors were not doing their job. Prosecutors had not called him with updates and he had begun to suspect that they weren't taking the case seriously.

Pennington is a frail looking, year-old with a wispy goatee. Locals who know him describe the part-time maintenance worker as shy and unassuming. According to Pennington's statement to local law enforcement officials, what happened on the night of April 4, , was this: Mable Ashley Jenkins, known as Ashley, stopped by his mobile home with Alexis Jenkins; they asked him to go for a drive with them and their boyfriends.

He had known the women for a long time and followed them into the truck. But before they had driven far, a light flickered on and he realized he knew the two men sitting in front: David Jason Jenkins, who goes by his middle name, and Anthony Ray Jenkins. He knew they were trouble and he asked to get out. They didn't let him. Instead they drove into the mountains, up past the fresh piles of coal and skeletal outlines of machinery looming over mine openings and into a state park called Kingdom Come.

Jason Jenkins sat in the passenger's seat. Pennington later told the FBI that as they drove, Jason told Pennington to "suck his dick" and said he was going to rape him.

The truck stopped abruptly and Pennington used his hands to brace himself, but the Jenkins men pulled him out. Then they beat him. In September, Palmer shot off a press release announcing that he had notified the Justice Department of a Harlan County hate crime. And while Kentucky is one of many states that has passed their own laws against hate crimes motivated by gay bias, its version of this legislation is much weaker than the federal government's.

In Kentucky, a hate-crime charge can remove the possibility of parole but does not increase the length of a sentence. The political situation for gay residents was especially bad in the tiny mining towns of southeastern Kentucky, Palmer wrote to the Justice Department. The population was bigoted and elected officials were afraid for their jobs, he said. Federal agents began examining the case, and in April the Justice Department announced its indictment.

It's not hard to see why federal officials might have viewed Pennington's case as a good opportunity to test the power of the new law. The day after the Jenkinses beat Pennington, Jason Jenkins seemed to suggest to his wife on a recorded phone call from jail that he and Anthony had been planning to kill Pennington.

She asked what they had against him; he replied he's a "faggot. Now that the federal government had stepped in, they might end up spending the rest of their lives in prison.

It took gay rights advocates and proponents of hate crimes legislation many years and several presidents to get the federal hate crime law passed. Bush came to the White House and said he would veto any hate crime legislation that crossed his desk. Finally in October , at a press conference in the White House attended by the parents of Matthew Shepard, a young gay man who died after two men beat him and tied him to a fence in Wyoming, President Barack Obama proclaimed that "no one in America should ever be afraid to walk down the street holding the hands of the person they love.

Under the previous law, they could intervene only if the crime interfered with a federally protected activity, like voting. Critics of hate crime laws -- and there are many -- complained that the statute added yet another special class of victims to the set of racial, religious and minority groups already protected by the original federal hate crime legislation passed in Some critics went further, questioning the justness of punishing people for their thoughts.

James B. We have a message that society will not tolerate beating people to a pulp and there's a huge punishment attached to it," he said.

Do you really think that having another law in the books is really going to make that point? And those are just the crimes that the FBI knows about. The agency says that hate crimes are underreported.

Advocates of hate crime legislation say that when people commit a hate crime they are attacking not just one person but an entire class of people. When Matthew Shepard was killed because he was gay, advocates argued at the time that the whole gay community was under attack. So as some advocates would have it, George Douglas Stallard and George Daniel Stewart, a gay couple in their 50s who live in Harlan County, were also victimized by the Jenkinses' alleged crime.

Stewart and Stallard, who were born in southeastern Kentucky, are among the few people in Harlan who will talk openly about the case. They live in a little blue house in the woods with rainbow curtains on the windows -- and rainbow coasters and rainbow tablecloths and a DVD collection that includes eight seasons of "Bewitched. Stewart and Stallard say they found just the home they wanted; the problem was everything outside it.

Stewart experienced a situation similar to Pennington's when he was a teenager, Stewart said: He was hitchhiking a few miles in Harlan County when someone he knew offered him a ride and then pulled off the road, tied him to a telephone poll, sexually assaulted him and threatened to kill him.

He never told anyone for years, he said. Stewart and Stallard are hoping the case will change things, that it will finally get people talking about gays in the community but they also know that fear has a way of making people quiet.

For years they had tried to start a support group for the few openly gay people in the town. But the only way to convince people to show up to a meeting would have been to offer them prescription painkillers or a party, Stallard said. Another gay resident of Harlan, Angie who requested a pseudonym to protect her identity , said she hates living in the county.

She had moved away from the hills when she was young and came back after splitting with her husband. Angie's resignation to the difficulties of life in Harlan echoes a common refrain among the gay people who live in the area. But Jordan Palmer refused to accept this fate. He became a lonely hero, the single crusader for gay rights in all of southeastern Kentucky. One recent evening he arrived late to a Mexican restaurant where one of his causes, a lesbian named Misty, was sitting with a big soft-spoken man to whom Palmer kept referring by his full title: Southeastern Kentucky regional director Will Taylor.

Besides volunteering for the Kentucky Equality Federation, Taylor works at a gas station in town. Misty was dressed in jeans and a sweater, Taylor in khakis and a sweatshirt. By the time he arrived in his silver Jaguar, the others had already ordered.

He called over to the Mexican waiter. Cheese and refried beans would be fine. Some type of enchilada and burrito. I didn't look at the menu. Did you understand me? I don't think lettuce should be on things that are warm. An uncomfortable silence followed, then Palmer plowed ahead. Over the next hour he held forth on the importance of the Kentucky Equality Federation, the dismal state of justice among eastern Kentucky's elected officials, his outrage over school bullying and his new friendship with the Department of Justice.

He told an anecdote about asking a homophobic man in a Walmart if he wanted to step into a parking lot. For their part, Misty and Taylor expressed a mixture of qualified hope and deep-seated doubt about whether the Pennington case would change anything. Palmer, however, was confident that change was afoot. The case had better make a difference, he said, "because we're watching. On the phone a few days before the dinner, Palmer had spun a compelling and persuasive tale, saying that the Harlan County officials had failed the region's gay population by neglecting to embrace Pennington's case.

Palmer said he had documents and emails to support that point, but he never produced them. Other gay rights activists who work in Kentucky tend to avoid Palmer or deal with him cautiously both because the Kentucky Equality Federation has made it clear that it prefers to work alone and because the group has a history of not always getting its facts right.

The director of the Kentucky American Civil Liberties Union -- one of just two full-time paid professionals who work for gay rights in the state -- said that the federation is "often able to comment before an exhausting set of research has been conducted.

According to Palmer, his group began in , a year after Kentucky passed a law banning civil unions and same-sex marriage by an overwhelming majority. But Palmer began to gain notoriety in the state's tiny community of gay-rights activists a few years ago, after several young people were accused of threatening to push a gay teenager off a cliff.

The federation became the teen's advocate before any other organization heard her story.

Gay harlan kentucky

Gay harlan kentucky