Indiana Man Pleads Guilty to Hate Crime for Making Racially Motivated Threats Toward Black Neighbor and to Unlawful Possession of Firearms
Many people assume the Fair Housing Act only applies to situations involving landlord/tenant interactions or the sale, purchase or advertising of housing. But the Act also applies in cases of tenant-on-tenant or neighbor-on-neighbor harassment.
Shepherd Hoehn, 51, plead guilty to “criminal interference with housing rights and a weapons charge” (firearms possession while a habitual user of marijuana is illegal under Indiana and federal law). Hoehn made threats based on race to intimidate his neighbor and to intimidate someone exercising his right to fair housing in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3631. The guilty plea is the latest action in the case since the FBI exercised a federal search warrant on Hoehn’s property on July 1, 2020.
“Hoehn’ s hateful and threatening conduct, motivated by racial intolerance, is an egregious crime that will not be tolerated by the Justice Department,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pam Karlan of the Civil Rights Division. “Every person has a right to occupy, enjoy and feel safe in their homes, regardless of race, color or national origin. We will continue to protect the civil rights of all individuals and vigorously prosecute hate crime cases.”
Hoehn was found guilty of displays intended to intimidate and threaten his neighbor, including a cross burning; placing Nazi symbolism and threatening racial slurs on his fence, blasting racially charged music toward the neighbor’s home, and pelting the neighbor’s home with eggs.
“Hoehn’s sentencing date has not been set at this time. Hoehn faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for each of the charged offenses.”
Read more here: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/indiana-man-pleads-guilty-hate-crime-making-racially-charged-motivated-threats-toward-black
HUD to expand fair housing protections for transgender people
“HUD becomes first agency to follow President Biden’s executive order to ensure civil rights protections include gender identity and sexual orientation”
Read the full Worden Memo
This marks a clear move away from the policy positions under previous HUD Director Ben Carson, and expands on former HUD Director Sean Donovan’s announcement in 2012. Read our 2012 post on the topic here.
As part of a HUD Fair Housing Initiatives Program – Education Outreach Initiative grant, the Idaho Housing and Finance Association (IHFA) has created a series of four videos that outline rights and opportunities guaranteed by the federal Fair Housing Act. While fair housing law and protections are broad in scope, these videos aim to present basic information and encourage individuals to better understand and assert their rights in pursuit of economic and social opportunities, freedom from discrimination and options to report violations.
Videos are available for viewing and sharing via social media at the links below:
Thanks to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the support of this effort. Ensuring the right of every person to live where we choose and can afford requires constant attention and cooperation. We all play a role in fair housing.
Acknowledgement/disclaimer. The work that provided the basis for these products was supported by funding under a grant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The authors and publishers are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations contained in this publication. Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Government.
Through a FHIP-EOI Grant from HUD, IHFA is hosting a series on Fair Housing aimed at housing providers and professionals. The first two sessions are described as Intermediate-level content for those with a basic understanding of fair housing essentials. The third session is an open format to offer participants a chance to explore specific questions or situations.