gang crimes get the federal swift-kick

posol

RETIRED
Staff member
http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/05/11/hou...l.ap/index.html


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.
 

Seany-izzle

Member
how can you define a word if you use in the definition sooooo wtf is a gang crime?? A gang crime is a crime involving gangs who commit a gang crime.
 

totalburnout

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I'm all for harsher punishments but I don't think thats going to stop gang crimes or the establishment of gangs in general.


I think the best idea is to get the people willing to participate in gangs off the street, but thats going to cost quite a bit. Its whether or not the public is willing to accomodate those costs to help insure that theres less crime...or we can go on our merry way and oppose the bill if we don't have many gang related problems in our area.
 

totalburnout

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Originally posted by Seany-izzle@May 12 2005, 11:24 AM
how can you define a word if you use in the definition sooooo wtf is a gang crime?? A gang crime is a crime involving gangs who commit a gang crime.
[post=498342]Quoted post[/post]​




*Scratches head*


They defined what the definition of a gang was to be interpreted as a group of three or more people, so when they went on to describe a 'gang crime' one can automatically assume that they mean a crime thats committed by three or more people.

This isn't grammar school, Congress can use complex sentences and define a word and then go onto define another word based upon the previous definition, in one sentence.
 

Battle Pope

Well-Known Member
Personally, I'm all for getting kids off the streets but nobody seems to see that we need to push the responsibility back where it belongs - the parents.
 

totalburnout

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Originally posted by Battle Pope@May 12 2005, 11:39 AM
Personally, I'm all for getting kids off the streets but nobody seems to see that we need to push the responsibility back where it belongs - the parents.
[post=498353]Quoted post[/post]​



...but TV can raise our children... :ph34r:
 

reckedracing

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Personally, I'm all for getting kids off the streets but nobody seems to see that we need to push the responsibility back where it belongs - the parents.


:werd:

They defined what the definition of a gang was to be interpreted as a group of three or more people, so when they went on to describe a 'gang crime' one can automatically assume that they mean a crime thats committed by three or more people.

This isn't grammar school, Congress can use complex sentences and define a word and then go onto define another word based upon the previous definition, in one sentence.



but you can also argue that this is a very generalized definition that can be misused to lock away "less desireables" for long stretches...

lets say you and 2 friends are out hanging out...
fair enough, then one of them litters... or spray paints on the back of a stop sign, and then your other friend sees some dude that hit on his girl and gets in a fight with him... bam, 20 years hard time in federal prison for a group of three or more, committing 2 crimes, one of which is violent...
 

totalburnout

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Originally posted by reckedracing@May 12 2005, 11:46 AM
but you can also argue that this is a very generalized definition that can be misused to lock away "less desireables" for long stretches...

lets say you and 2 friends are out hanging out...
fair enough, then one of them litters... or spray paints on the back of a stop sign, and then your other friend sees some dude that hit on his girl and gets in a fight with him... bam, 20 years hard time in federal prison for a group of three or more, committing 2 crimes, one of which is violent...




Alright, thats fine...you don't agree with their definition of a gang, you're entitled to your opinion.


I was laughing at sean because he was stating that they couldn't define a word, while using that word in the definition. My point was they defined the word and then went onto use that definition to define another term. Basically its an issue of semantics and grammar, but they did it correctly.
 

DarkHand

Senior Member
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Originally posted by New2TheCarScene+May 12 2005, 10:46 AM-->
Battle Pope
@May 12 2005, 11:39 AM
Personally, I'm all for getting kids off the streets but nobody seems to see that we need to push the responsibility back where it belongs - the parents.
[post=498353]Quoted post[/post]​



...but TV can raise our children... :ph34r:
[post=498359]Quoted post[/post]​

Which is why TV must protect children from dangerous nipples. :ph34r:
 

totalburnout

Well-Known Member
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Originally posted by reckedracing@May 12 2005, 12:07 PM
they defined what gangs are by saying they commit gang crimes...

but failed to give a definition of gang crimes...
[post=498378]Quoted post[/post]​



No, you said it yourself...they defined gangs as peoples of three or more.

Thus they defined gang crimes by inferring that they are crimes committed by gangs which are defined as three or more people.

They didn't define gangs by saying they commit gang crimes. They defined what gang crimes are by defining what is viewed as a gang. Basically the last clause of the sentence is left upon for interpretation so if there are three random dbag guys that commit 3 crimes, one or more being violent so that they can put the screws to those three guys as if they were a 10,000 member strong gang. Don't be an asshole and break the law and you and your friends having nothing to worry about.
 

DarkHand

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Originally posted by New2TheCarScene@May 12 2005, 11:11 AM
Don't be an asshole and break the law and you and your friends having nothing to worry about.
[post=498381]Quoted post[/post]​


Tyrants throughout history have used that same excuse.

Parents all over the country will be trying to put the bullies that beat up their nerdy son into prison for life, and that's just the first exploit off the top of my head.
 

totalburnout

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Originally posted by DarkHand@May 12 2005, 12:19 PM

Tyrants throughout history have used that same excuse.

Parents all over the country will be trying to put the bullies that beat up their nerdy son into prison for life, and that's just the first exploit off the top of my head.



Read the consequences, they're not all for life.

And if that bully and two of his friends fit into the category of committing three crimes, one of which can be deemed violent why should they not suffer the same consequences as others?

If three guys are picking on one guy because he's "nerdy" and they do something that terrible to the kid that the prosecutors sees fit to prosecute them as a gang, why should they be any different than a "regular" gang?

I'll say this, I'm sure there's loopholes in this legislation just as there is in every other piece of legislation. If its left up to interpretation than anything can happen.
 

reckedracing

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No, you said it yourself...they defined gangs as peoples of three or more.

Thus they defined gang crimes by inferring that they are crimes committed by gangs which are defined as three or more people.

They didn't define gangs by saying they commit gang crimes. They defined what gang crimes are by defining what is viewed as a gang. Basically the last clause of the sentence is left upon for interpretation so if there are three random dbag guys that commit 3 crimes, one or more being violent so that they can put the screws to those three guys as if they were a 10,000 member strong gang. Don't be an asshole and break the law and you and your friends having nothing to worry about.


are you challenged?
do you not see the diffrence between 3 friends hanging out getting into mischief, and ORGANIZED GANG CRIME????
 

totalburnout

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Originally posted by reckedracing@May 12 2005, 01:06 PM
are you challenged?
do you not see the diffrence between 3 friends hanging out getting into mischief, and ORGANIZED GANG CRIME????




Sir, you should never bring to the table a point about intelligence. You may not think it or believe it, but unless you're in a very small percentage of peoples then in terms of intelligence I'll walk circles around you. You think I'm an ignorant person when in fact I can usually see all angles of the argument.


Read, reread, and read again. I've stated it two or three times now and you all seem to forget what you read five seconds previous.

To be elligible for the punishment you must meet two requirements outlined in the original post; 1) Be a group of 3 people or greater and 2) Commit three felony crimes, one of which must be deemed violent and must be committed as a group or three or more, i.e. a "gang"

"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."

This isn't you stole a pack of gum, this is three felonies one of which being violent. You don't think if you committed three felonies one of which violent which obviously resulted in pain and suffering being inflicted. At the very least the gang must have hurt one person, but more realistically even if only one person was physically hurt there were other reprocussions to everyone that the victim belonged to. Criminals don't just hurt the victims in crimes but they hurt the entire group they associate with, its basic psychology. Take a look at the Cross Model and the stages of life, specifically the pre-encounter, the encounter, and then the state of immergence that occurs as a result of the encounter.


So i pose the question are you challenged?
 

xj0hnx

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I wanna play :)

Originally posted by Blanco@May 12 2005, 10:20 PM
Ok Mr. Wizard. How much real life gang experience do YOU have? Let's see your superior intelligence come out to play, without using circular logic and berating comments.
What are the social orders of gangs?

Within? O'G's, hardcores, regulars, wannabes

How do you advance within a gang?

Depends on the gang

How do you determine if you get jumped in or have to commit a serious crime to join?

Depends on the gang

What do the different colors of California gangs signify?

All of them?

What does the "13" in MS-13 signify?

I forget, but I know it is commonly used for Marijauna

What were the Crips originally named?

Baby Avenues

Why was the <s>blood</s> nation started and where?

Rikers Island and segregation

What is "set tripping"?

Changing gangs

Why do kids join gangs in the first place?

A feeling of belonging

What does "Crippin'" mean?

To be a Crip

What does a sideways hat and/or one rolled up pant leg signify?

Dealer

What does gang graffiti signify?

Possesion of an area

What does a crossed out tag (name) on a wall signify?

Could be a couple things, mostly disrespect, or a hit

[post=498528]Quoted post[/post]​
 

totalburnout

Well-Known Member
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What does having been in a gang have to do with understanding the legislation that they put forth?


Did I even elude to have been in a gang or knowing it all about a gang?


I simply said that if three people commit three felonies, one of which is deemed violent, what is the difference if they are punished the same as a larger gang? They're still being bullies, they're still using numbers, whats the difference. I was more explaining the legislation and how it can be benificial then harping about my incrediblely vast knowledge about gangs //sarcasm.


I will now reward you with your cookie because you have been in a gang and know what its like to be in a gang, even though that has zero to do with the punishment of such activities.


***As for an IQ test I haven't taken one willingly, I mean other than the the IQ tests that were slipped into the standarized testing as a child.
 

Guy

Senior Member
The problem with this legislation is that jail time/capital punishment/etc is not very effective in stopping crime, so adding more to the tax payers burden by stiffening penalties really is only to the benefit of those who are involved with the prison system (guards, suppliers, etc). It is similar to how people will advocate the death penalty because they think that it stops murder. If that were true, then we would expect the state with the highest rate of capital punishment to have the lowest murder rate, right? Im afraid Texas is far from the lowest. Same logic applies here; gang members (in the traditional sense or by the new definition) are not going to sit and contemplate the reprocussions of their actions before engaging in crimes, and no additional penalties will change that fact.
 
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