Gang-buster bill gets dissed

By LANCE TAPLEY  |  January 25, 2012

Senator Alfond is not the only cosponsor who has problems with the bill. It's "very poorly written," said the Criminal Justice Committee's lead Democrat, Senator Stan Gerzofsky, of Brunswick.

On the other hand, Gary Plummer, of Windham, the committee Republican House chairman, said, "We've got to take a stab at defining a gang."

Berry said the task force is backing off from pushing for mandatory enhancements of sentences. Representative Volk said she was going to meet with the attorney general's office to get help in drafting an amendment. At the minimum, she said, "I expect it to perhaps define gangs and gang activity as well as provide guidelines for enhanced sentencing."

News reports have been sparse on alleged gang activity in the state, though in 2010 law-enforcement officials announced they had arrested 24 individuals accused of membership in gangs with names such as, according to a House Republican Office statement supporting LD 1707, Asian Boyz, True Somali Bloods, and True Sudanese Bloods.

"MPAC advocates are very apprehensive about the potential of subjecting Mainers to this kind of additional scrutiny based on race," Judy Garvey said about LD 1707.

Attend the hearing | LD 1707 "An Act to Define, Prevent and Suppress Gang Activity" will come before the State Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on January 27 @ 10 am in Room 436 in the State House in Augusta.

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