U.S. Congress Passes Tough Anti Gang Bill

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Common Sense
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U.S. Congress Passes Tough Anti Gang Bill

Unread post by Common Sense » May 25th, 2005, 1:28 pm

House Passes Tough Anti-Gang Bill

Measure is reaction to recent high-profile violent crimes
Wednesday May 11, 2005


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Reacting to spreading street violence, Republicans pushed legislation through the House on Wednesday to make gang attacks federal crimes and put gang members eligible for long federal prison sentences or even the death penalty.

A bill approved 279-144 would expand the range of gang crimes punishable by death, establish minimum mandatory sentences, authorize the prosecution of 16- and 17-year-old gang members in federal court as adults, and extend the statute of limitations for all violent crimes from five to 15 years.

The legislation is in reaction to recent high-profile gang crimes, including victims hacked by machetes in Virginia, and to the activities of gangs like MS-13 -- the Central American-influenced Mara Salvatrucha.

"If you join a violent criminal gang and you commit a gang crime, you'll go to jail for a long time or you'll help us bring down that network," said Republican Rep. Randy Forbes of Virginia, the bill's author.

"If it fails, we might as well put a sign on billboards that says 'Coming to a neighborhood near you soon,' because that's the growth we're seeing in gangs."

According to Justice Department statistics cited by the bill's supporters, there are 25,000 active gangs in 3,000 jurisdictions across the country, adding up to 750,000 gang members nationwide.

Democrats said the bill puts too much emphasis on punishment and neglects prevention.

While the bill authorizes $387.5 million over the next five years to fight street crimes, Democrats said the cost of accommodating new prison inmates alone would exceed $9 billion over the next decade.

"We must give our young people a path to success, not just a path to prison," said Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas.

Under the bill, federal prosecutors would share about $50 million a year to designate areas of high-intensity interstate gang activity and create law enforcement teams to go after gangs.

Forbes aides said the intent is to produce an estimated 200 new federal anti-gang prosecutions a year that would strike at gang networks much like the federal government has pursued organized crime syndicates.

The bill defines criminal street gangs as groups of three or more people who commit two or more gang crimes, one of them violent.

Minimum mandatory sentencing guidelines would impose death or life imprisonment for any crime resulting in death; at least 30 years in prison for kidnapping, aggravated sexual abuse or maiming; and at least 20 years for an assault resulting in serious bodily injury.

Convictions for other gang crime -- defined as violent crimes and other felonies committed to further the activities of a street gang -- would result in a minimum prison term of at least 10 years.

Gang members would be able to avoid the toughest sentences if they cooperate fully with prosecutors.

Supporters looked at the mandatory minimum sentences as the first remedy to a recent Supreme Court ruling that made sentencing guidelines advisory instead of mandatory -- a decision that disturbed many Republicans.

Backers also said they were the best way to force low-level gang members to cooperate with prosecutors and turn in gang leaders.

But Democrats said such sentencing requirements would disproportionately affect minorities, remove the discretion of judges and swell prison populations without stopping crime.

Rep. Maxine Waters of California introduced an amendment that would have struck the mandatory sentencing provisions from the bill, but she withdrew it in face of GOP opposition, saying she didn't want it to become a political issue.

"I know there are people who are just salivating for this amendment to remain on the floor so they can catch Democrats voting for something they will use in their campaigns," Waters said.

The House approved an amendment by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a Republican from Virginia, that would stiffen penalties for illegal immigrants, who law enforcement officials say make up a large proportion of some gangs.

The provision, approved 266-159, would add five years to violent crime and drug trafficking sentences when the violator is an illegal immigrant, and 15 years if the violator has previously been deported for a criminal offense.

The bill's supporters include the National Sheriffs' Association and the Fraternal Order of Police. Opponents include civil rights groups like the NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch.

The bill's prospects in the Senate are uncertain. Sens. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, and Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, have introduced an anti-gang bill that -- unlike Forbes' bill -- contains funding for crime prevention programs and does not include mandatory minimum sentence provisions.
Last edited by Common Sense on May 27th, 2005, 6:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread post by BlaKK » May 25th, 2005, 7:08 pm

Glad You were staying Up On Your Politicis... Thats Right Folk...From here on Out Gang activity Is No Longer in the Jurasdiction of Your Local Police, But in the Hands of The Feds. WOWWW nigga. Its Gonna Get Ugly as Dirt.

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Unread post by maryland000 » January 2nd, 2007, 8:15 am

so does this mean if the police know your in a gang and u commit any crime u did a felony?

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Unread post by MyGatSayBangBang » January 7th, 2007, 12:07 am

Oh yeah, we hav encountered this. WHen they mention gang's, get religeon tied into it and say your gang is like your religeon and stuff and they will go hand's off and just charge you regularly.

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Unread post by Common Sense » January 22nd, 2007, 11:18 am

MyGatSayBangBang wrote:Oh yeah, we hav encountered this. WHen they mention gang's, get religeon tied into it and say your gang is like your religeon and stuff and they will go hand's off and just charge you regularly.
This isn't going to work in California. It's open season on all hoodsta's right now. Religon affiliated or not.

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Patriot Act should be used

Unread post by stanly » January 24th, 2007, 8:23 am

I have to wonder how do the gangs differ from groups like Al Quada. They are both a threat to the American people and our freedom, they both kill, both keep us in fear of daily lives, they a detriment to our children and there learning, they both plan secretive attack on our communities. When does it be become more obvious that we are dealing with criminal element that in now as franchised as our government. Why don’t we call gangs what they really are Terrorist. Should we not use the Patriot Act on Gang as we do with Al Quada?

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Re: Patriot Act should be used

Unread post by Common Sense » January 24th, 2007, 10:12 am

stanly wrote: I have to wonder how do the gangs differ from groups like Al Quada. They are both a threat to the American people and our freedom, they both kill, both keep us in fear of daily lives, they a detriment to our children and there learning, they both plan secretive attack on our communities.
This is true. Unfortunately, many of these people just don't know any better, and sometimes, they must learn it the hard way.
stanly wrote: When does it be become more obvious that we are dealing with criminal element that in now as franchised as our government. Why don’t we call gangs what they really are Terrorist. Should we not use the Patriot Act on Gang as we do with Al Quada?
Law enforcement agencies do use similar tactics. The crime spree that's going on in the Harbor Gateway community of Los Angeles, will soon find Federal agents doing recon (surveillence, wire tapping, etc) for local police departments to help secure convictions. So in a sense, Patriot Act type methods are not being ruled out.

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Re: Patriot Act should be used

Unread post by DK » January 24th, 2007, 11:53 pm

stanly wrote:I have to wonder how do the gangs differ from groups like Al Quada. They are both a threat to the American people and our freedom, they both kill, both keep us in fear of daily lives, they a detriment to our children and there learning, they both plan secretive attack on our communities. When does it be become more obvious that we are dealing with criminal element that in now as franchised as our government. Why don’t we call gangs what they really are Terrorist. Should we not use the Patriot Act on Gang as we do with Al Quada?
No, this is NOT correct. There are so many things wrong with this statement I don't know where to start.

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