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NCJ Number: 159938 Find in a Library
Title: Gang Intimidation of Witnesses Is a Growing Problem (From Gangs: Opposing Viewpoints, P 77-81, 1996, David Bender and Bruno Leone, eds. -- See NCJ-159928)
Author(s): S H Verhovek
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 5
Sponsoring Agency: Greenhaven Press
Farmington Hills, MI 48333-9187
Sale Source: Greenhaven Press
P.O. Box 9187
Farmington Hills, MI 48333-9187
United States of America
Type: Survey
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Many witnesses to gang crimes are reluctant to testify against gang members for fear of retaliation, and tactics gang members use to intimidate witnesses are described.
Abstract: Although few reliable statistics on witness intimidation are available, powerful anecdotal evidence indicates gang members routinely pressure witnesses not to testify against them. For example, 3 months after his testimony helped convict a gang member of murder and just 1 week before he was to testify in the trial of a second defendant, 19-year-old Elijah Ragland was found dead in Fort Worth, Texas. In Oakland, California, police officers have reported several cases in which pagers of witnesses scheduled to testify at upcoming trials for gang-related killings have gone off, flashing the telephone number of a local mortuary. In Los Angeles, prosecutors say gang members sit as spectators at a compatriot's trial, slowly moving an index finger across their throats in a slashing motion as a witness is taking the stand. Some social policy researchers believe witness intimidation is most severe in poor urban neighborhoods where shootings often occur in broad daylight and many witnesses know the killers. Gang members have become increasingly brazen about frightening witnesses, since the lack of a witness can mean no jail time. Witness relocation programs in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Detroit are noted, as well as methods used in these and other cities to protect witnesses.
Main Term(s): Gangs
Index Term(s): California; Michigan; Murder; New York; Testimony; Texas; Victim-witness intimidation; Violent crimes; Violent offenders; Witness protection; Witnesses
Note: Opposing Viewpoints Series
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