From the office of Sen. Nancy Jacobs:
Sen. Jacobs applauded the successful use of the Maryland Gang Prosecution Act of 2007 in the case of State of Maryland v. Dajuan Marshall. Jacobs hopes this successful prosecution will serve as a launching pad for future gang prosecutions.
Unfortunately, gang violence continues to plague neighborhoods and communities statewide. For these reasons, Sen. Jacobs believes there is room for improvement and is committed to continuing to work to strengthen Maryland’s gang law including adding more RICO-like provisions, adding gang use of properties to nuisance abatement laws, and increasing the underlying crimes that define gang violence to include extortion, malicious destruction of property, and operating illegal gambling ventures.
Gang Law Background: Sen. Jacobs was spurred to action by the tragic death of Daryl Guess in her community not far from where she had once lived. Michelle Guess, the wife of Daryl, helped Nancy push for tougher gang laws and in 2007 with a bipartisan effort, Sen. Nancy Jacobs along with Sen. Norman Stone and the Maryland State’s Attorney’s Association successfully passed Maryland’s first anti-gang laws. In the 2010 legislative session, Sens. Jacobs and Stone successfully strengthened the 2007 gang law.
Senator Jacobs offered the following remarks about the successful gang conviction:
“I applaud the recent gang conviction of Dajuan Marshall because it is a first step in what I hope to be a series of gang convictions across the state. We need a concerted effort—legislative, legal and community to help stop the gang violence that plagues our neighborhoods. I remain committed to doing whatever it takes legislatively and as a volunteer to stop the gang violence that plagues our neighborhoods.”
Why do we need special laws that target gangs. Aren’t their illegal activities covered by laws that are already on the books? How did these laws change the prosecution and conviction of Mr. Marshall?
Think of Gangs as simply a different kind of organized crime group. The Federal Gov’t has been using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations statute (RICO), that was originally enacted to dismantle the Mafia, against street gangs.
RICO and Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering Act, 18
U.S.C. § 1959 (collectively, RICO/VICAR) are the two primary charging “schemes” that are relevant to the “enterprise theory” of gang prosecutions. They are well-suited to broad based, violent,enterprises. The second, the drug conspiracy/continuing criminal enterprise (CCE) charging “scheme,” is appropriate where the gang’s activity involves a coherent drug distribution conspiracy.
The two schemes are tailored to different types of criminal entities. If a target group is essentially a narcotics distribution organization, the members of which may carry guns and engage in a few provable violent acts, then the drug conspiracy/CCE scheme is probably the appropriate charging option. On the other hand, if the target group is structured and highly violent, then the RICO/VICAR scheme is the appropriate vehicle.
This applies to the Federal Governments’ prosecution of gangs. Not every state has similar statutes. I hope this helps clear it up for you.