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KY Call to Action: Say NO to “criminal gang” bills

January 21, 2010

This action in Kentucky opposes badly written “criminal gang” legislation.

Date received: January 21, 2010
Issued by Jay Huber, KMA/KBA State President
Dates to act, and deadlines are not specified. Please check with KMA/KBA or assume immediately.
Action requested: Statewide in KY.
Out of staters concerned about traveling to KY might additionally contact KY Tourism Bureau with your concern about spending tourist dollars if these bills pass.

Kentucky Department of Tourism
Capital Plaza Tower 22nd Floor
500 Mero Street
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
(502) 564-4930
(800) 225-8747

Action Alert


Please call your State Representative at 1-800-372-7181 and leave the following message: “Please vote NO on HB 53 and HB 64.”
If you do not know who your state Representative is then please do not worry. The folks at the call center will help figure out who it is and/or you can ask to leave it for the House Judiciary Chairman Rep. John Tilley. He can decide to not even hear the bill and it will then die in committee which is what we would like to see happen.
These 2 bills can have dire consequences to your Liberty and expand the ability of law enforcement to target various groups they may not agree with. These are the two Criminal Gang bills being considered in the KY State Legislature. Below is a list of key elements of the bills. They are the same bills except for a technical correction between them.
· The definition of what constitutes a criminal gang is so broad that arguably the state Legislature, the VFW or even the Boy Scouts would be subject to its terms. (section 6-1)
· Does NOT define what constitutes as “primary activities the commission of criminal acts”. (section 6-1)
· Creates a secret database that is not available to be checked by the public or individuals to contest that they may have been wrongly added to the database. Yet is shared widely throughout law enforcement and may create situations in which law enforcement targets individuals wrongly placed in the database. (sections 1 and 3)
· A person can be added to this database without his or her knowledge and the only level of proof to do so is “reasonable suspicion.” (section 2 – 4)
· Allows a person to be added simply for suspicion they are a member or just associated with the group. (section 2-1-c,d)
· Fails to allow for due process in that you can be entered into this database and subject to civil and criminal prosecution based on the findings of a separate jurisdiction, state or even country. (Section 6-1-b)
· Due process is also denied since you can be labeled as a criminal gang member simply because an “informant” or law enforcement officer says you are a member without trial, hearing or other legal proceeding. (section 6-2)
· Infringes upon the constitutional right to assemble by allowing guilt by association. Whether the person in question did anything wrong or not but can be found guilty for associating with others that may or may not have committed criminal acts. (section 6-2-e)
· The definition for “Pattern of Criminal Gang Activity” is overly broad and could include as little as three speeding tickets. Even federal law limits this definition to violent offenses such murder; manslaughter and other class A type felonies. (section 6-4)
· No difference is made between recruitment in the first or second degree and first degree recruitment is impossible due to section 7-1-b, c.
· Section 9 allows for the taking of property but does not limit the type of property allowed to be taken sufficiently to those convicted of criminal acts. For instance a person is listed in the database as a ‘suspected associate’ or because a ‘reliable informant’ said he/she was a member, then is that person’s property then subject to forfeiture even though they had not been convicted of any crime?

Due to the vaguely worded language of this bill and its attempt to convey guilt by association thus infringing on our right to assembly, I would ask that every effort be made to defeat this bill as written. Please be sure to make the call at 800-372-7181 and ask your Representative to VOTE NO on these two bills.
Here are the links to the bills if you would like to read the test of the bills for yourself. The bills are nearly identical but have a few technical corrections.
HB 53 — http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/10RS/HB53.htm
HB 64 — http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/10RS/HB64.htm

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