• Bob Stevens

    Um… The gang database isn’t used for any gang prosecution in California. No judge would ever allow the database to be used as evidence. In fact, case law requires that there must be testimony about every single contact a prosecutor wants to use against a gang member. The gang database is nothing more than what credit card companies do, it’s information gathering. Further, it’s not accessible to any public/private employers other than law enforcement so it’s not stopping anyone from getting jobs or schooling.

    • Sean Garcia-Leys

      Well, that is the policy. However, the auditors found multiple cases where CalGang was directly used as evidence of gang membership by prosecutors and/or judges. They also found instances where police departments admitted using it in employment screenings. The finding of the auditor is that the bottom line is that CalGang is not being used only as intended or according to policy. Furthermore, even when used correctly, anyone who’s stopped by a cop who gets a hit for that person in CalGang or the NCIC gang file is treated differently. Plus you’re more likely to become a subject of an investigation if you are in the database, even when it’s used properly. Those are good reasons to be concerned if you’re wrongly there. Plus, and this wasn’t even addressed in the audit, these records are used in making immigration decisions. This documentation can make the difference between getting deferred action or not. And finally, all this exposes the incredibly subjective and inconsistent criteria used by CalGang. I mean, really, Sonoma County has more gang members than Los Angeles or Orange County? They’re obviously interpreting the criteria differently.

      • Bob Stevens

        No judge could use the database in any way in open court unless the defense attorney had no clue what they were doing and flat out committed error. Prosecutors can’t use it in court either except as an investigatory tool. Whatever information is found in the DB still has to either be proven in court or plead to. If the DB was used for law enforcement screening, fine. There was no indication that this particular use lead to misidentifications. I’m sure the DB is cross referenced with a persons criminal background. If someone is properly in the database and they become a target of the investigation, oh well. They did something to get into database. As far as deportation proceedings, fantastic. There are representatives for the deportee and a panel that make that decision. No system is perfect and judges/juries are checks on the legal system to make sure it’s used properly. These people in the DB are either pleading guilty or being found guilty of the crimes they are by all accounts, properly charged with.

        • Sean Garcia-Leys

          The audit found that the database is over inclusive, that misuse of the database is a result of poor oversight and training, and that misuse has resulted in actual harm to people. I don’t think it’s fair to shift the blame for that onto defense attorneys, or to assume everyone who was wrongfully placed on the database must have done something wrong to get in the database, that only guilty people are ever convicted, or even that only guilty people take plea deals. And as for immigration proceedings, the vast majority take place without representation, there are no juries in immigration court, and no panels.

  • OCservant_Leader

    Garbage In = Garbage Out. This is beyond incompetence. This is why we are losing trust. There needs to be accountability in public service.