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Man gets 6 months for faking federal hate crime

A man who was convicted of making false statements to police officers in 2001 in North Carolina has now pleaded guilty to federal charges that he faked a hate crime. The man admitted in an East Coast court that he had set his own house aflame and attempted to convince authorities that a hate crime had been committed. The 42-year-old man will only serve six months' prison time in connection with the hate crime itself. That six-month term for federal crimes will be served concurrently with a two-year arson sentence imposed by the state.

Authorities report that the man set fire to his own porch and vehicle at his rented home on March 15. After starting the two blazes, the man reportedly went back into his home and got into his bed. Luckily, the man's son awoke to discover that the house was on fire, and he put out the flames. The car fire apparently burned out on its own. In addition to lighting the fires, the man also said he spray-painted racial slurs on the building and vehicle. An official inquiry into the federal crimes was launched in late March, at which time the man told officers that he did not know the perpetrator of the alleged incident.

The defendant in this case admitted wrongdoing and told the court that he was disappointed by his own behavior. A judge in the matter reminded the man that this type of crime has a serious effect on others in the community. The man had reportedly admitted his involvement in the federal crime to officers who were investigating the incident on March 27.

Even though this man was facing both federal and state charges, he will still only serve a two-year term, and he may even be able to reduce his time with good behavior and other correctional credits. This defendant chose to plead guilty to the charges he faced. Although guilty pleas have their place, it is important to remember that they are not appropriate for every criminal case. Criminal defense attorneys can help defendants learn more about the implications of a guilty plea.

Source: www.timesdispatch.com, "Man who faked hate crime pleads guilty to federal offense" Frank Green, Nov. 25, 2013

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