Gangfighters Weblog

July 6, 2012

Big League Gangfighting in the Volunteer State

Filed under: define, definition, gang, gang member, ganglaw, gangs, youth gang — carterfsmith @ 9:51 am

In The odds of finding a “pattern of criminal gang activity” we examined the likelihood of a gang member committing a crime, that he was caught doing, that was considered a felony, twice, within a five-year period, after committing a prior crime for which he was caught and convicted . . . 


I know, it’s confusing . . . perhaps it will still be applied.


Despite my suspicions that the law will not be used heavily by prosecutors, I am impressed that it is law, and available. This is all part of the legislature’s move to place criminal gang offenses within the state’s existing Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, where convictions would be class B felonies with sentences ranging from at least 12 to 20 years (as we discussed in Gang Laws and their inability to be useful against real criminals.


While RICO was originally aimed at the Mafia, over the past four decades, prosecutors have used it against many organized crime groups: street gangs, gang cartels, corrupt police departments and even politicians. To violate RICO, a person must engage in a pattern of racketeering activity connected to an enterprise. 


The TN Legislature appears to be making a shift toward acknowledgement that gangs are more of an organized crime problem than a juvenile delinquency problem.


BRAVO!


This shift puts us in, or at least heading toward, the Big Leagues, where states like New York, Illinois, and California (motivated by crime in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles) have (and have had) similar laws.


Not so bravo


According to New York Criminal Procedure (b) A criminal act is “a part of” a pattern of criminal activity when alleged in a count of enterprise corruption when it is committed prior

  to commencement of the criminal action in which enterprise corruption is
charged and was committed in furtherance of the same common scheme or
plan or with intent to participate in or further the affairs of the same
criminal enterprise
to which the crimes specifically included in the
pattern are connected.

I take that to mean the crime has to be gang (or other organized crime group)-related.


Illinois defines a pattern as 2 or more gang-related criminal offenses committed in whole or in part within this State when: (1) at least one such offense was committed after the effective date of this Act;(2) both offenses were committed within 5 years ofeach other; and(3) at least one offense involved the solicitation tocommit, conspiracy to commit, attempt to commit, or commission of any offense defined as a felony or forcible felony under the Criminal Code of 1961.”Course or pattern of criminal activity” also means one or more acts of criminal defacement of property under Section 21-1.3 of the Criminal Code of 1961, if the defacement includes a sign or other symbol intended to identify the streetgang.


So it appears Illinois requires the gang member to be careless enough to commit repeated crimes within the state, but they specifically include graffiti as a repeated offense?


California appears similar to ours with their Section 186.22(e), which defines a “pattern of criminal gang activity” as the “commission of, attempted commission of, conspiracy to commit, or solicitation of, sustained juvenile petition for, or conviction of two or more of the offenses [enumerated therein] . . . committed on separate occasions, or by two or more persons . . . .”

So where do we go from here?



What do you think?

Public disclaimer: I am a founding board member of the Tennessee Gang Investigator’s Association.

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May 30, 2008

What exactly makes a gang member a gang member?

Filed under: define, definition, gang member, gangs, gangs in the military — carterfsmith @ 2:12 pm

In the previous post (Gang members don’t belong . . .) we referenced the ongoing conversation over at the Modesto Bee.

Here’s the recent thought provoking dialog update:

What exactly makes a gang member a gang member? Sounds like a lot of stereotyping going on. You could consider a bunch of Marines with USMC tattoos consider gang members when they are hanging out together right? –

A concise and agreed-upon definition has yet to be found in the study of gangs, though most scholars agree that a gang is a group of two (or three) or more individuals who form a loosely organized group (or remain together as a group) with one of the primary purposes of that group being the continued commission of criminal acts. Gangs vary greatly in size, geography, criminal sophistication, modus operandi, and their impact on the community or communities. As noted earlier, there is much diversity in gang membership. All races and ethnic backgrounds are included.

Ball and Curry (1995) suggested an heuristic definition for gangs, and offered: a “spontaneous, semisecret, interstitial, integrated but mutable social system whose members share common interests and that functions with relatively little regard for legality but regulates interaction among its members and features a leadership structure with processes of organizational maintenance and membership services and adaptive mechanisms for dealing with other significant social systems in its environment” (p. 9).

More simply, a gang is a group of individuals who 1) agree to commit crime 2) on a regular bases, and 3) one of them does something to further the commission of the crime. This definition contains the essential elements needed to prove the criminal charge of conspiracy in most jurisdictions. Gangs can be seen as criminal organizations because they are, for the most part, in violation of the various conspiracy laws in our country.

So no, the organizations known as the boy scouts, the Marines, and the local police department are not gangs by definition because their primary purpose for existing is not the commission of criminal activity.

Ball, R. A. & Curry, G. D. (1995). The logic of definition in criminology: Purposes and methods for defining “gangs”. Criminology, 33(2), 225.

PS — the above is now a blog post, thanks for the inspiration 🙂 So here it is . . .

What do you think?

What exactly makes a gang member a gang member?

Filed under: define, definition, gang member, gangs, gangs in the military — carterfsmith @ 2:12 pm

In the previous post (Gang members don’t belong . . .) we referenced the ongoing conversation over at the Modesto Bee.

Here’s the recent thought provoking dialog update:

What exactly makes a gang member a gang member? Sounds like a lot of stereotyping going on. You could consider a bunch of Marines with USMC tattoos consider gang members when they are hanging out together right? –

A concise and agreed-upon definition has yet to be found in the study of gangs, though most scholars agree that a gang is a group of two (or three) or more individuals who form a loosely organized group (or remain together as a group) with one of the primary purposes of that group being the continued commission of criminal acts. Gangs vary greatly in size, geography, criminal sophistication, modus operandi, and their impact on the community or communities. As noted earlier, there is much diversity in gang membership. All races and ethnic backgrounds are included.

Ball and Curry (1995) suggested an heuristic definition for gangs, and offered: a “spontaneous, semisecret, interstitial, integrated but mutable social system whose members share common interests and that functions with relatively little regard for legality but regulates interaction among its members and features a leadership structure with processes of organizational maintenance and membership services and adaptive mechanisms for dealing with other significant social systems in its environment” (p. 9).

More simply, a gang is a group of individuals who 1) agree to commit crime 2) on a regular bases, and 3) one of them does something to further the commission of the crime. This definition contains the essential elements needed to prove the criminal charge of conspiracy in most jurisdictions. Gangs can be seen as criminal organizations because they are, for the most part, in violation of the various conspiracy laws in our country.

So no, the organizations known as the boy scouts, the Marines, and the local police department are not gangs by definition because their primary purpose for existing is not the commission of criminal activity.

Ball, R. A. & Curry, G. D. (1995). The logic of definition in criminology: Purposes and methods for defining “gangs”. Criminology, 33(2), 225.

PS — the above is now a blog post, thanks for the inspiration 🙂 So here it is . . .

What do you think?

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