Re-education camp for immigration wrongthinkers

“Man accused of bias crime, saying ‘go back to your country’ must write essay on immigrants” (KATU):

A man accused of spitting on an immigrant and telling them to go back to their country now has to write an essay about the hardships of immigration, the Multnoamh County District Attorney’s office said.

In a unique sentencing, Denson received 90 days in jail with credit for the time he’s served and has until March to hand in a 500-word essay.

If the court accepts his essay, the bias crime charge will be dropped. If the court does not approve of his essay, or if he fails to turn one in, Denson may face more jail time.

“This is a unique resolution to a very serious incident,” said Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Nicole Hermann who prosecuted this case. “Mr. Denson needs to understand the impact his actions had on the victim and our immigrant communities. This is an opportunity for him to reconcile his behavior through compassion, learning and understanding.

I would love to know if the judge can articulate a standard for evaluating whether the essay expresses the appropriate amount of contrition for wrongthinking!

(Separately, note the use of “them” as a pronoun for a Ukrainian described as a singular “man” in the article.)

11 thoughts on “Re-education camp for immigration wrongthinkers

  1. He should construct his essay around the story about the 150 members of the CDN Zeta faction who immigrated through Texas on their way to conduct a massacre in Villa Union, Mexico. This article is just 300 words, so it leaves room for plenty of embellishment. There was a lot of hardship for these immigrants: 25 SUVs with six gunman in each, shooting up a city hall, torching police cars, capped off with a long gun battle that left 23 dead. Crossing the border must have been awfully hardshipful to make them that angry.

  2. Larry Page and Sergey Brin visit Portland and have an argument about flying cars, Page loses his cool and shouts: “Sergey, you should go back to your own country!” Do they arrest him and make him write a 500 word essay about the hardships immigrants face?

  3. More seriously, though: this does raise the question: is it just Portland? In how many other jurisdictions can you be charged with a bias crime for telling someone to go back where they came from (without spitting at them)? What if you have a breakup with your girlfriend and say: “It’s over. I hate where you’re from, and I hate you. And I hate your family. You should all go the hell back to where you came from. And that eyeliner makes you look like a lemur.” Is that a lover’s quarrel or a bias crime?

  4. The associate dean of an Ivy League medical school was similarly forced to write an essay after being caught for stealing a coin. He no longer holds the dean position.

    Consequences for breaking laws in our society is usually either a fine (aka tax) or imprisonment (seriously restricting a person’s freedom). Forcing someone to write an essay in lieu of a fine or prison sentence seems reasonable – so long as the content is a reflection of societal’s values. Writing an essay seems less onerous than being force to pay a tax or being locked up. If you had a choice, what would you pick?

    • Anon: This wrongthinker WAS locked up. So he did not have a choice! He was sentenced to jail time for spitting, it seems, and then to essay-writing for his thoughtcrime.

  5. It is the spitting part that got him into this mess [1]. However, far more serious crimes have gone unpunished or with far less jail time because it all comes down to the trend-of-the-month / year or who you are or who you know.

    If I were this guy, I would not accept such a cruel and unusual punishment. I would appeal because this judge is out of line with this punishment.

    [1] — if the data in this link is correct, Multnoamh County is in Portland and Portland is not on this list of spitting is a crime.

    • Article doesn’t specifically say spitting is not a crime, it just says spitting on somebody while HIV infected does not cause an additional charge in Oregon.

      I would expect most assault statutes are broad enough to cover spitting, after all, any unwanted bodily contact can typically be charged as an assault.

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