ATLANTA (AP) - Georgia's prosecutors cannot charge anyone with a hate crime, even if they want to, because the state is one of only four without an official hate crimes law.

Repeated attempts by the state Legislature to remove Georgia from that list with South Carolina, Wyoming and Arkansas have failed. The state Supreme Court overturned a previous law in 2004 and bills that would have brought the state in line with federal law failed to pass over the past two legislative sessions.

Attacks or threats that involve racial slurs and an admitted member of the Aryan Brotherhood in Georgia have still led to lengthy prison sentences. But advocates for a hate crimes law argue an official charge is needed to send a message of validation to victims and intolerance to perpetrators.

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