Fear Itself: The Impact of Allegations of Gang Affiliation on Pre-Trial Detention
CUNY School of Law
St. Thomas Law Review, Vol. 23, 2010
In courtrooms across the country, prosecutors justify demands for high bail by alleging that defendants are affiliated with gangs. The practice is deeply problematic, both because law enforcement gang lists do not accurately represent true gang membership, and because the imposition of excessive bail violates the Eighth Amendment. Moreover, the allegations are largely made against young men of color. While gangs pose real problems in society, labeling young men who reside in gang neighborhoods as gang members does nothing to address the gang problem. This article explores the basis for and the impact of allegations of gang affiliation, and proposes safeguards to ensure that allegations of gang affiliation are made only in a limited class of cases, and tested promptly by evidentiary hearing.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 40
Keywords: Gangs, Bail, Pre-trial Detention, Law
Date posted: November 4, 2010