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Juveniles in gangs are lawful; gang action is not

ALBANY, Ga. -- It is not a crime for a juvenile to belong to a gang. It is a crime to commit crimes in furtherance of the gang, according to Assistant District Attorney Andrea Ewings.

Ewings, the only Dougherty assistant district attorney assigned to Juvenile Court, spoke Thursday at the October Gang Task Force meeting.

"Gangs are more recently recruiting young members and female members," Ewings said. "They are also getting more violent."

While Ewings said the right to join an organization, even a gang, is protected, anyone, even a juvenile, who takes criminal or violent acts to advance the gang are subject to gang participation charges.

The Dougherty County District Attorney's office has charged many gang members with gang participation in Juvenile Court. For juveniles, an additional one to five years in the Regional Youth Detention Center is attached to any other crime committed at the time a guilty verdict comes down.

Ewings said there are about four gang cases pending in Juvenile Court now. That number might seem low, but the cases have multiple suspects. One case has eight defendants.

About half the youths who have been convicted and are on or off probation that go through her office are gang members, Ewings said.

"Many times they (gang members) will not come through with gang-related charges," she said. "Shoplifting or battery against a parent is not gang-related. (Those crimes are) not done in furtherance of the gang."

Ordinarily a juvenile offender could spend 30 days under youth detention. Unfortunately, Ewings said, the offenders know the system and aren't intimidated by the punishment.

"Parents aren't doing a good job," she said. "In a home without strong parental guidelines and supervision, the field is open for someone else to step in and have a negative influence."

Comments

Sister_Ruby 1 year, 5 months ago

Aren't we splitting hairs here? Where there is smoke........there will be fire.....if nothing is done about the heat source.

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VSU 1 year, 5 months ago

"It is a crime to commit crimes in furtherance of the gang", according to Assistant District Attorney Andrea Ewings.

Isn't it a crime to commit crimes anyway? Duh! That's like saying it is against the law to break the law. Maybe they need to revise the law to make it a crime to be in a gang. Where there are gangs, there will be crimes. They are not in gangs to help sweet little old ladies cross the street.

"Parents aren't doing a good job," she said. "In a home without strong parental guidelines and supervision, the field is open for someone else to step in and have a negative influence."

That is because all these mothers care about is getting that welfare check. That's the only reason they had the kid in the first place. To h$ll with their children. They own they own.

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Sherwood_Eagle_Alum 1 year, 5 months ago

It is not a crime for a juvenile to belong to a gang. It is a crime to commit crimes in furtherance of the gang, according to Assistant District Attorney Andrea Ewings.

Uh, thank you, Captain Obvious. Which Clown College did she attend, and who took the bar exam for her?

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waltspecht 1 year, 5 months ago

Years ago when the Gangs were first becoming strong in Brooklyn, any gathering of more than three people was considered an illegal assembly, unless involved in a sporting or recreational event. That way when the Gang kids gathered on stoops or in front of the Candy store, they got picked up. The parents had to come sign them out. That did put a definate crimp in that activity. That is when they went to establishing Social Club Houses. Most of the Gnag Bangers around here aren't bright enough to figure that one out. If they do, the Police will at least know where to find them. There has to be a suttle pressure on these folks so they know their actions are unacceptable in Society. Gangs are fun to belong to until it becomes too much of a burden to be a member. That is what Law Enforcement needs to do. Place that burden on them.

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Cartman 1 year, 5 months ago

it is not a crime for a juvenile to belong to a gang.. Yeah. We already knew that from watching "The Our Gang" on TV. So is Ms Ewings saying that youths have a right to join a criminal enterprise? Talk about mixed messages!

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chinaberry25 1 year, 5 months ago

As long as there are hoods there will be gangs. Some of you above used the word parents. Very few gang members have parents. It is Mama and grandmama. Some are very good parents, but they are few and far between. It is sad for the children and society has to pay for their care all their lives.

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