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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 147689 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Author(s): S Burrell
Date Published: 1990
Page Count: 64
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Type: Training (Aid/Material)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper discusses the major issues that may arise when gang-related evidence is presented in a criminal or juvenile case.
Abstract: The primary focus is on street gangs rather than on organized crime or prison gangs. In discussing defense counsel's "discovery" of official records of gang affiliation, the paper advises that through formal discovery, counsel may find out what the police think they know about the defendant and the source of the information. Discovery motions should request the guidelines or standards for the entry of information into police gang files and the procedures for updating or purging such files. Stop and search procedures in some urban centers involve the routine detaining or patting down of juveniles only because they have the appearance of a gang member. Police, however, cannot legally detain a person on appearance alone absent some activity that relates to a crime that has occurred, is occurring, or is about to occur. The officer must also be aware of specific and articulable facts that lead the officer to believe the person being stopped has been, is, or is about to be involved in the criminal activity. Other guidelines for defense counsel in gang-related cases pertain to evidentiary objections at trial. These guidelines address the relevance of the evidence in showing bias or credibility and in showing motive, identity, or intent. Defense counsel must also be alert to unduly prejudicial evidence of gang membership, gang evidence as hearsay, and the authenticity of "expert" testimony on the defendant's alleged gang membership. Other factors that must be analyzed by defense counsel are allegations that arise from specific anti-gang legislation and the introduction of gang-related evidence at the sentencing hearing. 196 footnotes
Main Term(s): Juvenile/Youth Gangs
Index Term(s): Courts; Defense; Defense counsel effectiveness; Defense preparation; Juveniles
Note: Draft
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