Men Get 9 Years in Prison for Pennsylvania Hate-Crime Death
Wilkes-Barre, Pa. (AP) – Two Pennsylvania men who were convicted of a federal hate crime for beating and kicking a Mexican immigrant who died of his injuries were each sentenced to nine years in prison on Wednesday.
Derrick Donchak and Brandon Piekarsky were among a group of white high school football players in the small town of Shenandoah who attacked 25-year-old Luis Ramirez in 2008. Prosecutors alleged they beat and kicked Ramirez because they didn’t like Hispanics and wanted them out of their town.
Donchak and Piekarsky were convicted in October. The jury also convicted Donchak of two other counts related to a plot to cover up the beating.
Under federal sentencing guidelines, the pair could have been sentenced to 12 to 15 years, but Judge [*****] departed from the guidelines because of their personal character and conduct before Ramirez’s beating, as well as the numerous letters and testimonials he received.
He noted that Ramirez’s death and the actions of the pair were not to be disregarded.
“The jury found that Mr. Ramirez died as a result of his ethnicity or race,” [*****] said. “This is serious business in America.”
Piekarsky, in a statement to the court, expressed remorse for what happened and offered his condolences to Ramirez’s family but said “it was not racial. I am not a racist.”
What this version of the story doesn’t tell you is that Messrs. Donchak and Piekarsky already had a state level trial, and the jury found them not guilty of pretty much everything, mainly because this whole set of affairs was a fight, not a deliberate one-way beating. What happened then is that the U.S. Attorney’s Office responded to the predictable bitching by Hispanic rabble-rousing hate groups like La Raza, MECHA, MALDEF and LULAC, by coming up with a novel legal application — They would charge the two with violating the Federal Fair Housing statute, by claiming that the two of them as much as laying a hand on Mr. Ramirez interfered with with his “right” as a Hispanic man to live where he wanted to live, all the while ignoring that he partially bought it on himself, as the state jury found. Unfortunately, the Federal jury fell sucker for the bullshit. I think the judge low-balling the sentencing guidelines was an implicit message to the Federal prosecutors that he thinks their use of the statute was at least questionable.
If the Federal Appellate Courts or the Supreme Court don’t overturn this conviction, then I’m giving up. The Fair Housing statutes obviously don’t apply here, because Donchak and Piekarsky didn’t have the power to make mortgage or apartment rental decisions. However, if their convictions aren’t overturned, then imagine the possibilities — Imagine all the blacks and Hispanics that could wind up doing time in Federal prison because their violent crimes against white people interfered with their right to live where they wanted to live.