Illinois Street Gang RICO Act

street gang, gang activity, Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois defense lawyer, The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, (or RICO), part of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, changed the way federal officials prosecute criminal organizations.  In 2012, Illinois passed the state Street Gang RICO Act designed to empower local and state officials to round up suspected gang members en masse and charge them as members of criminal organizations.

What is RICO?

The Street Gang RICO Act is written to prosecute people involved in a pattern of activity described as criminal, which ranges from drug offenses and prostitution to gun crimes, robbery and murder. Criminal conspiracy convictions carry up to 30 years in prison and fines can reach as much as $250,000.

One of the more controversial parts of the law, originally designed to break up the mafia and organized crime organizations, allows coordination between federal and local law enforcement in the process of investigation and conviction. A person or enterprise can be convicted of charges for racketeering in any territory of the U.S. Those prosecuted successfully not only face fines and imprisonment, however, but also asset forfeiture in the most controversial aspects of sentencing.

Racial Bias?

Currently, there are many who are beginning to wonder if the ongoing criticism of such tactics has been more right than wrong, and that such statutes give too much power to government attorneys in the state. There has also been, since the signing of the Illinois law, concern that the new powers could be used in a racially discriminatory fashion. According to the Chicago Crime Commission, a non-profit advocacy organization, there are as many as 100 gangs in Chicago with membership as high as 150,000 people, presumably consisting mostly of minorities.

Criticism of the expansion of RICO laws has been growing for 30 years, despite the creation of new state RICO laws. According to critics, prosecutors can use these laws specifically to bypass protections inherent in due process guarantees of the Constitution. One of the more disturbing applications of the RICO law is that those charged with a crime are treated as guilty until proven innocent. Since RICO’s passage, jurisdictional boundaries between state and federal law enforcement have also been steadily weakened.

Let an Attorney in Illinois Help You

If you have been charged with a RICO-related offense of any kind, it is critical that you immediately retain a highly qualified Chicago criminal defense attorney. Contact the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney today. With our help, we can successfully defend your rights in order for you receive a fair outcome at the end of your case.

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