QUOTE(Aquilla @ Jun 22 2005, 02:22 PM)
Now, apparently the Los Angeles Police Department is going to invoke RICO laws against street gangs and I suspect that this raid was just the beginning of what's to come. So, the questions for debate are as follows.......1. Is this a proper use of the RICO statutes?
2. Do you think this will be an effective tool against street gangs?
3. Do you view the RICO statutes as too powerful in the first place? (mainly for the Libertarians out there)
1. The RICO statutes were first used to prosecute activities that are very to similar to those of street gangs.
for example:In plain English, section 1962(a) generally makes it unlawful for a person to use an enterprise to launder money generated by a pattern of racketeering activity. Lightening Lube, Inc. v. Witco Corp., 4 F.3d 1153, 1188 (3d Cir. 1993).
2. I definitely think it's an effective tool against street gangs. When you consider the facts that:
a. Leadership of gangs may not actually be on the streets commiting crime
b. Attacking the leadership of street gangs may slow/stop total operation
c. Arresting the lower echelon of said gangs is probably largely ineffective and doesn't hinder overall operations.
Basically, it's like attacking a General or a Colonel on a battlefield as opposed to shooting the soldiers. Once the officers are killed, the men often lack direction and discipline. Conversely, shooting privates or NCO's often doesn't stop the battle. RICO laws against gangs that sell drugs and guns are a wonderful
way to break down the hierarchy of such organizations.
3. Are RICO laws too powerful?? (I know this was mainly intended for Libertarians)
I believe not. Is the law enforcement community attacking innocent organizations? I doubt it. It would make front page news on every channel... so that being said, if these laws are taking down people that Americans would rather not live next door to, then so be it. I know, I know... there are people out there that believe that the RICO laws are far too vague, and incriminate those whom may or may not have involvement in truly criminal activity. Take a look... http://www.ricoact.com/ricoact/nutshell.asp#constitutes
So, how do we establish complicity? The Mafia is a great example of how the RICO laws were effective. The Godfather wasn't actually on the streets selling illegal goods, shooting people, or doing anything else otherwise illegal. However, he did
direct said criminal activity. This is why we need
I believe it's like homeland security. Let's be better off safe than sorry. In the event that you live in an area that runs rampant with gang activity that you'd rather not come in contact with, I'm sure
the RICO laws are welcome...