Articles Posted in Gang Crimes

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Who-Says-Crime-Doesnt-Pay1.jpgRené “Boxer” Enriquez was a high level Mexican Mafia crime figure. His life was based on intimidation, murder, drug sales and evil. Boxer was a made member of the Mexican Mafia. What’s a made member you ask? It’s somebody who has killed for the Mexican Mafia and is such a trusted comrade that he proudly wears the black hand tattoo.

Sentenced to life in prison for murder and other crimes which he committed on behalf of the Mexican Mafia, he never expected to see the light of day. However, after numerous attempts on his life by other Mexican Mafia gang members, he left Pelican Bay in a helicopter escorted by the FBI and other law-enforcement agents.

What was his destination? It was a new life as a consultant on the government payroll earning thousands of dollars as an informant and an expert witness against his former brothers in the Mexican Mafia. All this while in protective custody housed in a federal prison for a California life sentence. He now writes books, lectures college students and even attends benefit lunches escorted by law-enforcement. In his spare time he testifies as an expert witness for the government in a variety of prosecutions.

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Gang-Injunctions.jpgTally another victory for civil liberties and constitutional rights. On Tuesday November 5, 2014, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a gang injunction in place in Orange County was overly broad and violated an individual’s basic freedoms. An injunction is an order by a court for someone to do something or refrain from doing something. A gang injunction is a new and dangerous twist on this traditional court order that is being used by District Attorney’s offices throughout the US. A gang injunction is a court order that attempts to restrain members of known gangs from associating with each other in public or representing their gang. As of 2010 there were 150 active gang injunctions in California alone.

But wait, what’s the problem with telling gang members that they can’t hang out with each other and wear gang attire? Why wouldn’t we want to do that? Well, the problem is gang injunctions typically draw in a swath of law abiding citizens in an act of profiling and enforcement practices that resemble something closer to a police state than a democracy. For instance, the gang injunction that came before the 9th Circuit restricted what clothes could be worn within the “safety zone”. It limited people’s 1st amendment right to publicly associate with whomever they choose, and even imposed a mandatory curfew. The particulars of such a gang injunction seem better fitted for martial law than a free republic.

For instance, children of a community activist were served STEP (Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention) notices for merely being in a car with a suspected member who might have associated at one time or another with an associate of a gang. Her children were even finger printed, all at a routine traffic stop. Stories like these led the 9th Circuit to find that “the injunctions provisions were so sweeping that enforcement of them constituted a heavy burden on an individual’s basic freedoms

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How does a lawyer conduct jury selection? What is he looking for? Why did he kick me off the jury panel? How could he think I wouldn’t be fair? Jury selection is sometimes called an inexact science at best. At worst, it’s like throwing darts at a target blindfolded and hoping for the best.

As a seasoned criminal defense lawyer, I tend to think that jury selection is incredibly important. However, rather than an inexact science, I tend to think I am fighting against the notion that people will automatically side with the District Attorney just because my client scares the crap out of them.

When preparing for trial I think about what kind of a juror would be good to hear this kind of case. In a DUI for example, I want the following: licensed drivers, drivers who will have dinner a glass of wine and then drive themselves home, someone who doesn’t have a religious issue with alcohol, and someone with an open mind. The open mind is last because everyone will say he has an open mind (unless he is simply doing everything possible to get out of jury service).