Adolfo Martinez Ames Iowa man sentenced to 16 years jail in LBGTQ flag burning hate crime as social media weighs in what many regard as onerous jail term.
Social media has been set ablaze after an Iowa man was sentenced up to 16 years jail time for stealing a pride flag from a local church and setting it on fire — a sentence that even a local LGBTQ group concedes might be excessive, according to a new report.
Adolfo Martinez, 30, of Ames, was sentenced Wednesday for stealing the pride banner hanging at Ames Church of Christ back in June — and then using lighter fluid – setting it on fire outside the Dangerous Curves Gentleman’s Club, The Des Moines Register reported.
Martinez admitted he did it because he opposes homosexuality, and a jury convicted him last month, according to NBC News.
‘I burned down their pride, plain and simple,’ Martinez told KCCI back in June.
He was sentenced to 15 years for arson as a hate crime, one year for reckless use of explosives or fire and 30 days for harassment.
While social media commentators didn’t deny Martinez exhibiting enmity in burning down the flag in front of a LBTGQ venue, others wondered to what degree any members of said club were ever in danger or risked imminent harm- while others wondered whether invoking the gesturing of the ‘freedom of burning down a flag’ as conflating the notion for potential of a hate crime?
Man sentenced to 16 years for stealing and burning an LGBTQ flag. This is going to be infamously controversial, or should be.
Of course, stealing and destroying property is very wrong. But when the property is a flag, 16 years is ridiculously excessive.https://t.co/S7mwVoV6MX
— Larry Sanger (@lsanger) December 20, 2019
Crime: Man Burns Flag.
Charge: Hate Crime.
Sentence: 16 Years.
What happens in the U.S. if you burn the Stars & Stripes flag?
Apparently, that is within the spirit of “Freedom of Expression”
— Let Kids Be Kids (@ace_kids10) December 20, 2019
Understanding True Justice?
Courtney Reyes, executive director of the statewide LGBTQ group One Iowa, told the network she appreciates how seriously the case was handled, but added the imposed sentence might actually be taking things too far.
‘Hate crimes against the LGBTQ community are a serious matter as they inflict distinct emotional harms on their victims, and strike fear into the communities they target,’ Reyes said.
‘That said, true justice should always strive to be about rehabilitation, reconciliation and healing communities. It is difficult to see how a 16-year prison sentence accomplishes any of those goals,’ Reyes added.
The arson as a hate crime charge carries a maximum prison sentence of five years. A year and a month is customary for the other two charges, according to the Register.
But since Martinez is considered a ‘habitual offender,’ a longer term is permissible.
The man’s sentence follows what many decried as an excessively lenient sentencing of an Indiana woman to only four years jail earlier this week after hitting and killing three siblings as they mad their way to a school bus.
The punishments have since led to some calling out double standards and the seemingly ‘free pass’ women receive when it comes to sentencing relative to men who continue to be regarded as habitual serial offenders and ‘natural’ oppressors – while society continues to balk at the notion that females can sometimes display more avarice and calculated predatory behavior.
Which is to wonder, had Adolfo Martinez of Ames instead been Andrea White of Iowa, would she have received the same sentencing this Wednesday?