Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mayor Emanuel Proposes RICO-Type Gang Laws

From the Sun-Times:
"As murder skyrockets in Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is calling on the General Assembly to pass a law to target gang members with federal-style racketeering cases.[...]

“We cannot fight criminal gang violence alone and need additional tools to go after gangs in our city and throughout Illinois,” Emanuel said in a March 30 letter to Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago).

The bill was narrowed to focus only on gang activity — and doesn’t apply to political corruption or white-collar crime. It allows racketeering prosecutions of anyone participating directly or indirectly in gang activity through violent crimes, gun and drug crimes or collection of illegal debts. A conviction would carry a prison term of 10 to 30 years, along with a fine of up to $250,000."  Read the entire article here. 
 What do you think?


  1. I suspect the primary shortcoming isn't insufficient laws on the books but insufficient enforcement of existing laws. Although, it might help to make it a crime to house known gang members. Moms and Grandmas, I'm looking at you. If you might go to jail because your kid's a thug, then maybe you'll have a greater interest in not raising a thug.

  2. Wow, Mayor Public Relations had an idea. Let's get that right out to the public in a press conference and then schedule another announcement regarding the great mayoral plan for clipping his toenails. Let's say that will create some jobs.

    Then announce how great the public schools are and that you want middle class parents to stay in the city while your kids go to the University of Chicago magnet school. Not that I blame him for sending his kids to a private school, but don't BS about the quality of the public schools. It's the equivalent of pooping on my sundae and telling me it's chocolate.

    Sorry for that image. Sorta sowwy.

    Seriously, if Rahmster wants to reduce violent crime he should announce the opening of "hamsterdams" in Chicago. Areas where the drug trade is tolerated, but no gang violence is tolerated. Look up the TV series "The Wire" to get an idea of what I speak.

    Then he should get his 9.5 fingers into gear and advocate for the end to drug prohibition. Tax it. Regulate it and treat it like a public health problem. Then the violence will decline.

    Until he does that he can continue to hold press conferences. After all it's better to look good than actually do good in Rahmworld.

  3. " murder skyrockets"

    I'm so sick of self serving hyperbole. Murder is not skyrocketing. While March saw a pretty significant up tick, April is right on track with last year.

    To add to that, Chicago is much safer than it was 10 years ago and much, much safer than 20 years ago. The murders per capita is down 25% from 2000 and 50% from 1990. I do agree we need to be able to persecute gang bangers for their crimes, but I also see the above statistics as a direct result of the increase in police presence and effectiveness.

    The unfortunate truth though is that in order to keep this up you need to continue to increase police presence and effectiveness of laws and to do this you have to scare the populous into supporting these measures. I guess I just wish we could make these decisions without the fear factor...

  4. Just another law that would look good on the books. Would it really be enforced? The mayor sooner put hundreds of speed cameras and more parking fee boxes to raise revenue for the out of control spending this city does. If he would make laws to untie the hands of the CPD, when it comes on how they handle and treat these punks, then that would be real gang control.

  5. I think the potential for abuse is extraordinary. Under this law, could a 12 year old who is recruited by a gang to carry drugs go to jail for 10 years? I know our politicians want us to pass expansive laws that leave justice in their discretion, trusting them to use that discretion wisely. But I don't trust them, and I don't want to pass a law that will do injustice.

  6. Sounds like a good idea to use racketeering laws to target gangs. However, I find it inconceivable that it wouldn't be used to target political corruption or white-collar crime, which are also big problems in our society. I'm not sure it would pass Constitutional muster under Equal Protection.

    Ironically, the term racketeering originated in Chicago, from Wikipedia: The term "racketeering" was coined by the Employers' Association of Chicago in June 1927 in a statement about the influence of organized crime in the Teamsters union.

  7. I agree with nugatory. Blame the people who raise these kids. They know exactly what they are doing when they leave the house wearing them white t-shirts.

  8. The Mayor is right on the money with this proposal. Anything that can strengthen sentencing laws will help get the message across to the repeat offenders that plague our city.

  9. Of course it won't apply to political corruption or white collar crime.

  10. You should be more concerned about getting to work and back home with out being shot than worrying about "white collar crime". Priorities. Get real.

  11. Good for Rahm! I have not agreed with everything this guy does (see idiotic Red Light Camera ordinance) but this one is all winner in my eyes! Prosecute the hell out of everyone invovled... book 'em, Rahmbo

  12. Lots of the laws we have regarding violent crime are great laws. The problem is that we let the repeat violent offenders out after serving a fraction of their sentence. New laws won't fix that problem unless they come with tons of money so that the State of IL can afford to keep offenders in prison for the amount of time these crimes demand.

  13. I get home everyday just fine. Think about the big picture. The financial systems we have in place, including all of the political corruption & white collar crime, is what perpetuates the never-ending cycle of violence. You have to drop the superficial dialogue that is repeated like an endless mantra in the mainstream media, which is basically that poor people (especially minorities) are simply violent, unreasonable people, and that they are the dead weight dragging society down. It's the sort of viewpoint that entirely ignores the historical development of class and race division within the United States. If you're not going to accept that the desperation and lack of education and other opportunities is what causes slums to be the way they are, then you'll have to posit some other cause.

  14. @Uptown Veg

    You're 100% correct. Prisons are already overpopulated and underfunded. Sending more people into them is like putting medical gauze on a failed levee. This one isn't too hard to figure out, the U.S. has the most people per capita incarcerated on the planet, yet some of the highest crime rates in the world and the highest hand gun death rate in the world. I don't think our industrial prison complex is really working...Could we be so lucky as to EVER get intelligent leadership that isn't funded by private interests?

    @ IP

    100% agree. Legalize and regulate but that will never happen because "the children" would all become addicts and/or DUI's will skyrocket making driving grandma to church Sunday mornings hazardous to your health. Ever wonder if big pharma has anything to do with keeping "street drugs" illegal? Wonder why they even feel the need to go after the supplement industry? Hmmm, now they don't make political contributions do they? I mean I do but mysteriously my $50 never seems to lead to legislation that I like. I'm overwhelmed with the mystery of it all.

  15. I agree that the problem is a lack of enforcement of the laws already on the books. If lack of money and resources is driving that, then how can a new law help anything? With what money? We have cameras to install near schools, for God's sake. Another ridiculous idea! I just want to know the connection between Rahm and the people who would get the contract to install all those cameras.

    And IP, I also agree with the idea of creating "Hamsterdams," but what is obscene to me is that political corruption and white collar crime would not be targeted under this proposed law. After all, as was so beautifully demonstrated in "The Wire," the street drug trade is indirectly and, in this city, I imagine very directly supported by our government officials. So, while I am not sympathizing with gang bangers, it is inherently unfair that they should be the only ones to get busted under this law. They are just too stupid to realize how they are used to do the dirty work of people who have higher standing in life. They should all go down for their participation, but I guess something is better than nothing.

    A Chicago Magazine article entitled "Gangs and Politicians in Chicago: An Unholy Alliance" from talks all about this.