Studies on leisure crime in the United States

Results of Professor Jon Landa's research stay at Columbia University

On March 15, 2024, Professor Jon Landa completed the research stay that he has developed within the international research program that Agirre Lehendakaria Center and its Foundation (ALC-ALF) promote hand in hand with the AC4 (Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict, and Complexity) of Columbia University.


From the different lines of research that he has developed, he has been able to culminate a scientific research article in which he makes a quadruple state of the question of hate crimes with a comparative perspective

To this end, in the first section of the study, he deals with the characterization of the legislative model adopted by the Spanish State in this matter. This characterization is developed in contrast with international standards and the main political-criminal models, with particular attention to that of the United States.

 Then, in second place, an account is given of the state of the doctrinal debate with the points that currently occupy the center of the controversy. In this second part, a parallelism is detected between the tendency in the United States to bring the paradigms of hate crimes and terrorism closer together and the Spanish orientation on the matter. It also highlights the particular field of the growing relevance, common to both sides of the Atlantic, of online hate speech. 

Thirdly, the main lines of jurisprudential application of the criminal types are also presented, highly influenced by a Reform of 2015 that has precipitated a growing number of convictions. 

Finally, the statistical picture is shown in the light of official data and a final section of conclusions. In summary, a sort of updated state of the art of this criminal reality is presented at four levels: state of the legislation, of the doctrinal debate, of the jurisprudence and of the statistical data.

American and European models: different sensitivities regarding freedom of expression

The stay at Columbia University has also made it possible to discuss these results with other research groups so that the aforementioned research has been able to adequately reflect the different sensitivity and attitude of the American and European models regarding freedom of expression: the former is much more "open" and permissive; the latter is much more prone to the criminal punishment of hate speech. 

Also significant is the tendency in the United States to expand criminal protection from ethnic minorities, historically marginalized, to sexual groups (sexual orientation and identity) or other groups (people with disabilities) although, as in Europe, the machinery of the administration of justice still focuses mainly on the first groups mentioned above, the original core of this legislative reality.

His main lines of research have to do with racism, xenophobia, discrimination as well as hate crimes, terrorism, crimes against humanity and penology.

Landa has been visiting professor or researcher, among others, at the universities of Hamburg (2000 DAAD), Heidelberg (2004 DAAD) and, recently, at the Lauterpatch Centre for International Law of the University of Cambridge (UK, 2010, 2011,2012, 2014), Vienna (2016), Edinburgh (2018) or Berlin (2019, 2022).