CNS – A state legislative package unveiled by five lawmakers, four of them from the Southland, would allow city and county prosecutors to employ tougher sentencing measures and increase asset forfeitures against gang members.
Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, authored SB 271, which would allow district attorneys and city attorneys statewide to go after gang assets to satisfy criminal judgments, and return recovered funds to the communities they terrorized.
Assemblyman Paul Krekorian, D-Burbank, introduced AB 1013, which would allow a city attorney to bring eviction actions against tenants who illegally use or possess dangerous weapons.
"Law enforcement professionals should have the tools they need to liberate our neighborhoods from these urban terrorists," Krekorian said.
Sen. Mark Ridley-Thomas, D-Los Angeles, is behind SB 989, which would make it easier for law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to deal with racially motivated gang activity.
Specifically, the bill would add hate crimes to the list of crimes in the Street Terrorism and Enforcement Protection Act.
"I have introduced SB 989 in order to begin the statewide discussion about the seriousness of hate crimes in relation to gang violence in our state," Ridley-Thomas said. "We must confront this matter legislatively and from a community level."
AB 268, authored by Assemblyman Charles Calderon, D-Montebello, would allow out-of-court statements made by prosecution witnesses to be admissible when gang members either intimidate or keep the witness from testifying in court.
Calderon also introduced SB 844, which would establish sentencing enhancements for gang activities, hate crimes, child abuse and drug crimes committed with 1,500 feet of schools.
AB 1033, which targets gang members trying to recruit children, was authored by a Northern California lawmaker.
If approved, offenders would be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, sentenced to a year a jail and fined $2,500, according to Assemblywoman Anna Caballero, D-Salinas.
"As the former mayor of Salinas, I know that our communities need the full range of tools to deal with the problems of gang violence," Caballero said. “This means strong laws to help prosecute gang members, but also early prevention programs to give our kids alternatives to gangs."
The measures are supported by Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, who joined the lawmakers in announcing the legislation on March 15 in Sacramento.
"Today we are taking a strong stand against the gang-bangers who put their own selfish interests ahead of their communities as they wreak havoc across our state and nation," Delgadillo said.
"With the help of the visionary legislators standing with me today, we are expanding the tools at our disposal to help California prosecutors take on and eradicate these criminals once and for all."