Prof. Eisenberg Authors Piece for The Atlantic

Press Date
July 9, 2021
Professor Eisenberg Headshot

Avlana Eisenberg, FSU Law’s Gary & Sallyn Pajcic professor, published a timely piece in The Atlantic on June 22. In “Hate-Crime Laws Don’t Work as Their Supporters Intended,” Eisenberg provides insight into why the enforcement of hate-crime laws may not occur as expected. The piece discusses Eisenberg’s research into prosecutorial decision making, which has included interviews with dozens of prosecutors in more than 30 states. Eisenberg’s piece provides several reasons hate-crime charges often are not sought by prosecutors. It also covers reasons why prosecutors might bring hate-crime charges because of external factors or in cases that don’t seem to warrant them. In addition, Eisenberg’s piece discusses options for addressing the under-enforcement of hate-crime laws.

In the piece, Eisenberg states, “Ultimately, there is a massive gap between the stated purpose of hate-crime laws and how they are used in practice. This mismatch may be disastrous for the morale of affected community groups—and for the relationships between these groups and law enforcement. Under-enforcing hate-crime laws can send the message that legal progress is a waste of time, that the lives of members of an affected group are not valued, and that this country’s laws do not protect them.”

Eisenberg teaches in the area of criminal law, and her scholarship focuses on the law and practice of criminal punishment. She has published in many top law journals, including the UCLA Law ReviewMichigan Law ReviewVanderbilt Law ReviewSouthern California Law Review and N.Y.U. Law Review.

Published on July 9, 2021