With Governor’s signature new “Street Gang Rico” law would become first-of-its-kind to targetÂ organized gang activityÂ
Cook County Stateâ€™s Attorney Anita Alvarez recently unveiled a new anti-crime legislative initiative designed to target gang leaders and the organized structures of Chicago street gangs and announced that her office is creating its first ever Racketeering Unit to help implement the new approach to fighting gang and other organized crimes.Â
Alvarez praised legislative passage of the â€œIllinois Street Gang and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Lawâ€ (Street Gang Rico), which was written by her office and for the first time will enable local prosecutors to investigate and indict gang cases applying the tools of â€œRicoâ€ a charge typically utilized in federal prosecutions.
Alvarez was joined by Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and the sponsors of House Bill 1907, State Senator Tony Munoz and State Representative Michael Zalewski.Â The bill, approved last week by the Illinois General Assembly, awaits the Governorâ€™s signature.
â€œUnder current practices, state prosecutors are typically only able to charge individual gang crimes and rarely, if ever, are able to prosecute and hold gang leaders accountable for the organized activities of the street gang and its underlings,â€ Alvarez said.Â
â€œWith this new law, for the first time in the history of our state, local prosecutors will be permitted to identify and address patterns in multiple gang-related offenses and join different organized crime offenses and different offenders into a single court proceeding.â€
The â€œStreet Gang Ricoâ€ bill will target gang organizations engaged in a pattern of crimes involving violence such as illegal weapons, sex-offenses, terrorism, and drug trafficking.Â In this way, different organized crime offenses and offenders may be joined into a single proceeding, and prosecutors can target the structure of the criminal organization itself and allow judges and juries to hear and see a complete picture of the overall criminal activity of the gang and its leadership.
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said his agency welcomes the new tool in its battle against Chicago street gangs.
â€œThe Chicago Police Department is committed to making Chicago a safe place to live, work and play for our residents and we will use all available resources, including the new RICO law, to ensure the safety of communities across Chicago,â€ said McCarthy.Â
Alvarez also announced that she is creating a new â€œRacketeering Unitâ€ within her office that will include specially trained Assistant Stateâ€™s Attorneys who will be made available to train other prosecutors from Stateâ€™s Attorneyâ€™s offices around the state.Â The prosecutors in the Stateâ€™s Attorneyâ€™s Racketeering Unit will undergo intensive training on the best practices and principles of Racketeering and Rico prosecutions and they will build and handle cases prosecuted by the office under the new law.Â
â€œThis new law will require fundamental changes in the way that state prosecutors approach gang crimes because the crime of racketeering has not existed under Illinois law in any meaningful shape or form,â€ Alvarez said.Â Â Â
Cook County Stateâ€™s Attorney Anita Alvarez was joined by legislative and law enforcement partners to announce the legislative passage of the â€œIllinois Street Gang and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Lawâ€ (Street Gang Rico), which was written by her office.Â For the first time local prosecutors will be able to investigate and indict gang cases applying the tools of â€œRicoâ€ a charge typically utilized in federal prosecutions. The bill, approved last week by the Illinois General Assembly, awaits the Governorâ€™s signature.