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Thread: S.B. 28 Prohibited activities of gang offenders (Sen. Greiner)

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    I am not going to get into any of the bill's good or bad points but a comment like the one below reminds me of the McCarthy hearings in the 50's. How do you determine who is or is not a member of a gang? Normally they don't supply membership cards or keep formal rosters so how do you determine their membership?

    If I am applying my thoughts wrongly I appoligize but any time we start passing laws directed at gangs we are approaching restricting the rights of everyone. I agree that something needs to be done but unfortunately I have no idea what that obeys the Constitution.
    The bill suggests that there's no criminal difference between a person who is a gang member and commits an enhanced offense, and a person who isn't a gang member and commits an enhanced offense

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    David,

    Good to have you back.

    Personally, I think the best way to "clean up" this bill is to kill it outright. Or, alter it to provide for a mandatory 5 year prison sentence for anyone convicted of these offenses.

    If a person can't be trusted to exercise basic rights like RKBA, he cannot be trusted to be on the streets.

    And I don't think we want to at all open the door to additional gun bans. Existing felony laws will handle this for serious crimes. Enhance gang crimes to felonies.

    OR, enhance ANY crime committed by an illegal alien (the BULK of our gang members I suspect) to a felony and see how quickly the crime rate drops.

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    Utah Legislature Contact info:

    http://www.utahsenate.org/perl/roster2007.pl

    This page is the most current link and says 2008 at the top of the page. I am not 100% certain it has been updated since election.
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    This is a noble attempt but I don't see it being any more that political fodder. How do you prove that their primary activity is gang crimes. As I said lots of constitutional rights at stake in this definition and sure looks like McCarthyism all over again. You and two of your buddies standing on a street corner talking about OC can easily be hauled in under these guidelines by a LEO with an agenda. Sure you will probably beat it in court but so will the gangs.

    Utah Code Section 76-9-802. Definitions.

    As used in this part:

    (1) "Criminal street gang" means an organization, association in fact, or group of three or more persons, whether operated formally or informally:
    (a) that is currently in operation;
    (b) that has as one of its primary activities the commission of one or more predicate gang crimes;
    (c) that has, as a group, an identifying name or identifying sign or symbol, or both; and
    (d) whose members, acting individually or in concert with other members, engage in or have engaged in a pattern of criminal gang activity. ...

    Enacted by Chapter 15, 2008 General Session

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    I am a big fan of locking up gang members who commit crimes for at least 20 years, even if it is just spitting on the sidewalk.

    I figure that a court can determine just who is a gang member the same way they determine whether a crime was committed or not.

    Lock them up and throw away the keys.

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    ilbob wrote:
    ...I figure that a court can determine just who is a gang member the same way they determine whether a crime was committed or not...
    Arrest now, ask later - the Judge will sort it out...
    Despite what you have heard: Thats process is not as convenient as you make it sound..

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    thoughtpolice wrote: You must be ecstatic..

    I guess no more OC meetings then huh? I mean, we are three or more persons, have a uniformed name/group title, AND we'd all be ARMED. Nice..

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    PT111 wrote:
    This is a noble attempt but I don't see it being any more that political fodder. How do you prove that their primary activity is gang crimes. As I said lots of constitutional rights at stake in this definition and sure looks like McCarthyism all over again. You and two of your buddies standing on a street corner talking about OC can easily be hauled in under these guidelines by a LEO with an agenda. Sure you will probably beat it in court but so will the gangs.

    Utah Code Section 76-9-802. Definitions.

    As used in this part:

    (1) "Criminal street gang" means an organization, association in fact, or group of three or more persons, whether operated formally or informally:
    (a) that is currently in operation;
    (b) that has as one of its primary activities the commission of one or more predicate gang crimes;
    (c) that has, as a group, an identifying name or identifying sign or symbol, or both; and
    (d) whose members, acting individually or in concert with other members, engage in or have engaged in a pattern of criminal gang activity. ...

    Enacted by Chapter 15, 2008 General Session
    With this definition of a "criminal street gang" ANYONE who commits a crime and is ANY part ofANY organization (church, club, open carry club etc...) it is nowa GANG crime.

    Sure, people who never do anything illegal don't have anything to worry about. Personally I tend to speed - now I probably have a "pattern" of speeding - I am also a part of a club/organization. So... if I'm pulled over for speeding I'm commiting a gang crime?

    This is WAY too broad of a definition.

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    thoughtpolice wrote:
    ProtectedbyHIS9mm wrote:
    PT111 wrote:
    This is a noble attempt but I don't see it being any more that political fodder. How do you prove that their primary activity is gang crimes. As I said lots of constitutional rights at stake in this definition and sure looks like McCarthyism all over again. You and two of your buddies standing on a street corner talking about OC can easily be hauled in under these guidelines by a LEO with an agenda. Sure you will probably beat it in court but so will the gangs.

    Utah Code Section 76-9-802. Definitions.

    As used in this part:

    (1) "Criminal street gang" means an organization, association in fact, or group of three or more persons, whether operated formally or informally:
    (a) that is currently in operation;
    (b) that has as one of its primary activities the commission of one or more predicate gang crimes;
    (c) that has, as a group, an identifying name or identifying sign or symbol, or both; and
    (d) whose members, acting individually or in concert with other members, engage in or have engaged in a pattern of criminal gang activity. ...

    Enacted by Chapter 15, 2008 General Session
    With this definition of a "criminal street gang" ANYONE who commits a crime and is ANY part ofANY organization (church, club, open carry club etc...) it is nowa GANG crime.

    Sure, people who never do anything illegal don't have anything to worry about. Personally I tend to speed - now I probably have a "pattern" of speeding - I am also a part of a club/organization. So... if I'm pulled over for speeding I'm commiting a gang crime?

    This is WAY too broad of a definition.
    I disagree, the red I bolded says it PRIMARY activities, meaning the primary activities of the group. Church doesnt count. Being a Mason doesnt count. Being an OCDOer doesnt count. All because thats not the primary intent. Primary intent of gangs is usually to illegally obtain money, drugs, power(with intent to harm) etc. I dont think its worded all that badly, but all bills usually can use a bit of tweaking. Also, the other bolded says a PATTERN of criminal activity. Just because I belong to achurch and steal something once doesnt fall under that criteria either. Just my opinion though.
    I understand that - and you understand that. But it's too broad because it provides loopholes where they can push you into this category when you aren't really in a gang.

    What if there have been multiple thefts from church members in the last year. All completely unrelated, but all by "members"?

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    thoughtpolice wrote:
    I think its being read in to a little too much. I think it allows alot of wiggle room on BOTH ends, to possibly get into or get out of trouble. I really dont see your scenario being prosecuted as a violation of this law.
    But that's the problem. If we can read into it and make it apply - any judge/da can do the same thing. Honestly, this one's not that big of a deal, but the system could give you a really hard time with this one if they wanted to. Sure, with a lawyer, you'd get out of it. But that's steps that shouldn't have to be taken.

    The same as notifying a leo that you have a cfp and are or are not carrying to avoid a problem - even though our laws don't say that you need to. We already have to do so much extra to gaurantee that we have our rights. It's just one more hoop that they can choose to throw you through.

    Yeah - I'm making more out of it than it is. But it's the darn principle!

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    They never could get a case against Al Capone until they decided to get the IRS involved and charge him with tax evasion. Laws such as this can be used in many different ways and sometimes we may not like how they are used. Lots of open options here for judges and juries to throw the book at people because they don't like what they are doing.

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    Utah Code Section 76-9-802. Definitions.

    As used in this part:

    (1) "Criminal street gang" means an organization, association in fact, or group of three or more persons, whether operated formally or informally:
    (a) that is currently in operation;
    (b) that has as one of its primary activities the commission of one or more predicate gang crimes;
    (c) that has, as a group, an identifying name or identifying sign or symbol, or both; and
    (d) whose members, acting individually or in concert with other members, engage in or have engaged in a pattern of criminal gang activity. ...

    Enacted by Chapter 15, 2008 General Session



    My issue with this bill is:

    First-- Where is the definition of "predicate gang crimes?" If this term is un-defined by statute I see WAY too much risk of abuse!

    Second-- part (d)... What constitutes a "pattern of criminal gang activity?" Is this different from the regular old run of the mill "criminal activity?"

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    State Researcher Kevin Jensen's Avatar
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    As "feel good" as this legislation sounds, it has gun control in it. There is an article on ksl.com that even calls this bill gun control. You can wrap a piece of crap in all of the sugar you want, but there will still be crap in the middle. Please call you representatives and ask then to take a closer look at this bill before voting on it.

    My senator, Senator Mark Madsen, was the lone voice to oppose this bill. :celebrate


    UTAH STATE SENATE
    58th LEGISLATURE
    2009 GENERAL SESSION

    SB 28 RCS# 29
    PASSAGE ON SECOND 1/29/2009 11:10:16 AM
    2nd Reading

    Prohibited Activities of Gang Offenders

    Greiner


    24 YEAS 1 NAYS 4 ABSENT PASSED


    YEAS 24

    Bell Goodfellow Liljenquist Romero
    Bramble Greiner Mayne Stephenson
    Buttars Hinkins McCoy Stowell
    Christensen Jenkins MorganUrquhart
    Davis Killpack Okerlund Valentine
    Dayton Knudson Robles Waddoups


    NAYS 1

    Madsen


    ABSENT 4

    Hillyard Jones Niederhauser Van Tassell


    "An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life." Robert A. Heinlein

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    ProtectedbyHIS9mm wrote:
    thoughtpolice wrote:
    I think its being read in to a little too much. I think it allows alot of wiggle room on BOTH ends, to possibly get into or get out of trouble. I really dont see your scenario being prosecuted as a violation of this law.
    But that's the problem. If we can read into it and make it apply - any judge/da can do the same thing. Honestly, this one's not that big of a deal, but the system could give you a really hard time with this one if they wanted to. Sure, with a lawyer, you'd get out of it. But that's steps that shouldn't have to be taken.

    The same as notifying a leo that you have a cfp and are or are not carrying to avoid a problem - even though our laws don't say that you need to. We already have to do so much extra to gaurantee that we have our rights. It's just one more hoop that they can choose to throw you through.

    Yeah - I'm making more out of it than it is. But it's the darn principle!
    The broad-brush reading and application presented here is not the same as one that is applied in practice. You may state that you read the bill, and understood the section about criminal activities, but your examples fail to take into account the wording of that clause. It hinges upon

    Organization
    that has as one of its primary activities the commission of one or more predicate gang crimes;'
    Taking the statement into context, the "predicate gang crimes" section will limit the scope sufficiently. Unless your example crimes by individuals all of a sudden get described as a primary activity of the organization, which are also crimes considered to be predicate gang crimes.

    I don't like the bill either, but I do not see how it can be applied to church members acting outside of the goals of the church itself.

    "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin

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    http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/ci_11619821


    But two of the proposed anti-gang measures go too far.

    Rep. Ronda Menlove, R-Garland, may introduce a bill that would make it illegal to belong to a criminal gang, or associate with a gang member. She should set that notion aside. Simply belonging to a group, or associating with an individual, should not constitute a crime.

    And Senate Bill 16, sponsored by Sen. Jon Greiner, R-Ogden, would enable local governments to establish gang-free zones, and empower local police departments to enforce them.

    Parks, malls, theaters, common areas of buildings -- any and all places where people routinely congregate -- could be placed off-limits for gangs and gang members.

    The bill would require law enforcement officers to be trained to identify gangs and gang members, but it's not an exact science. While well-intentioned, the bill will surely result in racial and age-related profiling, and restrict the right to peaceably assemble.
    Alright, so for SB28 to affect anybody they need to actually commit a crime. Here, no crime needs to be committed.

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