: News

Filed Under:

MD Prosecutors Want Tougher Gang Laws

Play associated audio

By Greg Peppers

Prosecutors in Maryland say they need stronger laws against gangs. They say the existing statute isn’t working, and that’s prompted a state delegate to introduce new legislation that she says will strengthen the current law.

Maryland Prosecutors say the existing law to combat gangs contains too many loopholes. They say it isn’t working because it fails to adequately define criminal gang activity. Prosecutors also say the current statute sets the burden of proof too high and doesn’t contain strong enough penalties.

Delegate Gerron Levi, a Prince George's County Democrat, has introduced legislation that she says goes above and beyond the current statute.

"This would establish one uniform way across the state to determine who is a gang member," he says. "It would add to current law a number of new crimes for which prosecutors could prosecute gang members for gang related crimes, such as witness intimidation, second degree assault and things of that nature."

The new legislation does have its critics. Public defenders say the legislation would create bounds for overly broad prosecutions. The Maryland Association of Resources for Families and Youth also opposes the bill.

"By the broadening of what criminal gang offenses are and gang affiliation they're going to be bringing into the system more kids who may have only had incidental contact, a family member for example who is involved with a gang," says Shelley Tinney, the group’s Executive Director.

Statistics provided by the Maryland State Police show that gang activity has been reported in 22 of Maryland’s 23 counties.

NPR

'Star Wars' Editors Defy Hollywood Conventions

In a film industry often dominated by men, there's at least one exception: Many editors are women. Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey speak about their work on the new Star Wars.
NPR

Florida Says Its Fruits, Vegetables Are Safe From Invasive Fruit Fly

Since September, Florida has been fighting an infestation of the Oriental fruit fly, an invasive pest that threatened more than 400 crops. The state declared the insect eradicated as of Saturday.
NPR

Who Are The Possible Candidates To Fill Scalia's Seat?

Any pick by President Obama is sure to touch off a tough confirmation fight. But who will be at the center of the fray? Here are a few likely candidates.
NPR

West Point Students' Plan To Counter ISIS Online Strategy

The State Department sponsored a contest to find the best ways to combat ISIS propaganda online. A group of cadets from West Point got second prize. Rachel Martin speaks with team member CJ Drew.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.