A Brooklyn jury on Thursday convicted a man in the 2008 killing of an Ecuadorean immigrant but acquitted the killer of hate crimes charges that would have carried the prospect of life in prison.

Reports from the state's Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) indicate that it is common for hate crime charges not to stick. As with all crime, hate crime incidents don’t always end with the alleged perpetrator's arrest. And even when arrested and charged, many hate crimes defendants are found guilty of other charges but not of hate crimes.

DCJS's 2008 hate crimes report read: "New York City reported 259 hate crime incidents and 49 hate crime arrests; the rest of the state reported 337 incidents and 110 arrests. Of the 64 individuals who were convicted following a hate crime arrest, 10 were convicted of a hate crime."

State statistics indicate that from 2004 to 2008, 47 percent of reported hate crimes in the state originated in New York City.

The reason for the low percentage of hate crime charges that lead to conviction might be that it can be difficult to prove that hate was behind a crime.

The state's hate crime statute says a conviction requires that the defendant "intentionally selects the person against whom the offense is committed or intended to be committed in whole or in substantial part because of a belief or perception regarding the race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation of a person, regardless of whether the belief or perception is correct."