WNCN-TV in Raleigh, North Carolina, sought out McGuireWoods partner Colon Willoughby for his knowledge of North Carolina’s hate crimes law in the wake of the recent mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
Willoughby, a Raleigh-based member of the firm’s Government Investigations & White Collar Litigation Department, served as district attorney in Wake County, North Carolina, for 27 years before joining McGuireWoods. He told the CBS affiliate that the state has a criminal charge of “ethnic intimidation,” which can be hard to prove and carries lighter punishment than a related violent crime charge.
“(In) most of the cases where the motive was based on some ethnicity, gender, race, religion, the principal charge was more serious,” Willoughby said. “An ethnic intimidation charge might have a very small sentence compared to an aggravated assault with a weapon, or a homicide.”
Visit the station’s website for the story and the video, where Willoughby’s remarks begin at the 1:25 mark.