YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Man Convicted of E-Mail Hate Crime Released

Courts: Ex-UCI student has served more time than maximum sentence allows. He still faces car theft charges.


SANTA ANA — Richard J. Machado, the first person to be convicted of a hate crime on the Internet, was released from federal custody on a $10,000 bond Friday, but he was expected to be immediately turned over to Irvine police on pending felony auto theft charges.

Machado, 20, was convicted this week of violating the civil rights of Asian students at UC Irvine by sending e-mail threats to kill them if they didn't leave the school.

U.S. District Judge Alicemarie H. Stotler postponed Machado's sentencing Friday to April 10 and ordered that a pre-sentencing evaluation be done on him. He was released because his conviction carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison and he has already served more time than that.

Assistant U.S. Atty. Michael J. Gennaco said he plans to ask that Machado receive counseling in anger and racial tolerance, not be allowed on the UCI campus, not have contact with any of his victims and be banned from using the Internet.

Gennaco said he will ask that those conditions be in effect during a year of supervised release. If Machado were to violate them, he would face another year in prison, the prosecutor said.

Machado's attorney, Deputy Federal Public Defender Sylvia Torres-Guillen, could not be reached for comment on the proposed sentence. During the two trials, she had depicted her client as a young man who became distraught and flunked out of UCI after his eldest brother was murdered in Los Angeles.

It took a jury of eight women and four men less than a day to find Machado guilty of interfering with students' rights to attend a public university. His first trial ended in a mistrial in November with jurors deadlocked 9 to 3 in favor of acquittal.

The e-mails, signed "Asian Hater," were sent on Sept. 20, 1996, to about 60 students, most of them Asian. Some grew afraid after receiving the e-mail, arming themselves with pepper spray and refusing to go out at night alone. Others were simply angry and shrugged it off as a bad joke, according to testimony from the trial.

The Irvine car theft charges stem from an incident that occurred after Machado was indicted on the federal counts in November 1996. When an FBI agent arrived at Machado's apartment with a summons, a roommate told the agent that Machado had taken his car and disappeared. Machado was declared a fugitive and was arrested after 10 weeks on the run.

Los Angeles Times Articles