A recent press release from the Brooklyn DA’s Office announced that they’re charging a man with hate crimes for purse snatching and lifting a wallet from a handbag left in a shopping cart in T.J. Maxx Department Store. “We will work vigorously to prosecute all crimes based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation and ethnicity,” said DA Gonzalez. “The defendant allegedly targeted older women because they were easy marks.” The owners of the purses were three Russian women ages 61 to 64.
ADA Tightskirt: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you’ve heard of Kristallnacht in Nazi Germany, the lynchings in the South, the genocides in Rwanda, the beheadings in the Middle East – all hate crimes, just like the case before you. Here, the defendant’s target was that historically underrepresented, downtrodden minority, Russian women in their early 60’s. Feeble, decrepit, gaga, one foot in the grave, drooling and tottering along as best they can –
Judge: Um –
ADA Tightskirt: Did you say something, Judge?
Judge: (hastily putting away her copy of “Modern Maturity”) Nothing, please continue.
ADA Tightskirt: The judge will tell you that any crime based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity is a hate crime. Since everybody has at least one of those factors, there’s nothing we can’t charge as a hate crime.
Defense counsel: Objection! That makes the statute unconstitutionally vague! Not everything is a hate crime.
Judge: It is in Brooklyn. Overruled.
ADA Tightskirt: I call Madame Bolshoi Babushka to the stand. Madame, would you please tell the jury how you were robbed of your life savings by this vile bigot whose face is forever etched, imprinted, sculpted and burned onto your memory?
Mme. Babushka: I was trying on some lingerie at T. J. Maxx. I couldn’t have been more than 15 or 20 minutes. When I came out of the fitting room, my wallet was gone from my purse that I’d left in my shopping cart.
ADA Tightskirt: And of course the defendant had the opportunity to see that you were an elderly Russian woman?
Mme. Babushka: Kakoi elderly? At 64 I’m not even old enough to get a Senior Citizen discount Metrocard!
ADA Tightskirt: But didn’t you appear vulnerable in an old Russian sort of way that made this defendant consider you an easy mark and therefore violate your civil rights?
Mme. Babushka: I don’t know what you’re talking about, young woman. I am not old.
ADA Tightskirt: (desperately) But why do you think the defendant specifically targeted your purse? Surely it had to do with your being an easy mark?
Defense counsel: Objection! How would she know?
ADA Tightskirt: Judge, I have the burden of proving it was a hate crime. Obviously the People are entitled to ask any question that will prove their case.
Judge: Overruled. You may answer.
Mme. Babushka: I suppose he took it because it was there. Like the reason people climb Mt. Everest. And he thought there might be money in it.
ADA Tightskirt: (losing it) You’re the victim of a hate crime, you old bag, a hate crime! I refuse to be cheated out of a conviction just because you refuse to admit you’re a doddering old fossil! My daddy always told me, never trust the Russians –
Judge: Members of the jury, we’ll take a short recess. Don’t go to T.J. Maxx.