AN ACT TO STANDARDIZE CRITERIA FOR CLASSIFICATION OF CRIMINAL GANG MEMBERSHIP AND ACTIVITY AND TO AMEND THE CURRENT GANG NUISANCE ABATEMENT ACT.
Repeals GS 14-50.16 (Pattern of criminal street gang activity).
Renames Article 13A of GS Chapter 14 as North Carolina Criminal Gang Suppression Act (currently, North Carolina Street Gang Suppression Act). Makes conforming changes to GS 14-50.15. Enacts GS 14-50.16A to define criminal gang to mean any ongoing organization, association, or group of three or more persons, whether formal or informal, that (1) has as one of its primary activities the commission of criminal or delinquent acts and (2) shares a common name, identification, signs, symbols, tattoos, graffiti, attire, or other distinguishing characteristics, including common activities, customs, or behaviors. Provides that the term does not include three or more persons associated in fact, whether formal or informal, who are not engaged in criminal gang activity. Additionally, defines the terms criminal gang activity, criminal gang leader or organizer, and criminal gang member.
Renames Article 13B of GS Chapter 14 to North Carolina Criminal Gang Nuisance Abatement Act (currently, North Carolina Street Gang Nuisance Abatement Act). Makes conforming changes throughout the Article to refer to criminal gang(s) instead of street gang(s).
Amends GS 14-50.42, declaring real property used, etc. by criminal gangs for the purpose of conducting criminal gang activity, as defined in GS 14-50.16A(2) (enacted above; currently refers to GS 14-50.16(c), which is repealed by this act), a public nuisance. Establishes that proof that criminal gang activity by a member of a criminal gang is regularly committed at any real property or proof that the real property is regularly used for engaging in criminal gang activity by a member of a criminal gang is prima facie evidence that the owner or person who has legal possession of the real property knowingly committed the act. Defines regularly for purposes of the statute to mean at least two times in a period of not more than 12 months. Adds new provision establishing that evidence the defendant knew, or by the exercise of due diligence should have known, of the criminal gang activity constitutes proof of knowledge.
Makes conforming changes to GS 14-50.43, declaring criminal gangs regularly engaging in criminal street gang activities a public nuisance, to reference the definitions enacted in GS 14-50.16A. Adds that the term regularly means at least two times (currently at least five times) in a period of not more than 12 months for purposes of the statute.
Amends subsection (b) to now provide that (1) any criminal gang, as an incorporated association and in the name by which it is commonly known and without naming any of the individual members composing it; (2) any person who regularly associates with others to engage in criminal gang activity; and (3) any person who directs, participates in, assists in, conducts, furthers, suggests, requests, authorizes, or causes criminal gang activity can be made a defendant in a suit brought to abate any public nuisance resulting in criminal gang activity. Adds new provision permitting the complaint to also name, as a class of defendants, all unknown gang members. Provides that service of process upon any leader, officer, or organizer of a criminal gang or three members of a criminal gang, or any person representing a criminal gang or criminal gang member, constitutes adequate service upon a criminal gang. Prohibits from being discoverable the identity or location of a confidential informant used to establish criminal gang membership or criminal gang activity in any action pursuant to Article 13B. Permits criminal gang activity, membership, association, leadership, and existence to be proven through testimony of a fact witness, an expert witness, or a combined fact-expert witness pursuant to the rules of evidence.
Amends subsection (c) to now provide that a court finding that a public nuisance exists under this statute may enter an order enjoining the criminal gang or defendant in the suit (currently, only the defendant) from engaging in criminal gang activities and impose other reasonable requirements. Details that possible reasonable requirements include ordering any person not to associate with other persons associated with a criminal gang and to divest himself or herself of any involvement or interest, direct or indirect, in a criminal gang, to prevent the defendant or a gang from engaging in future criminal gang activities. Explicitly states that any gang member who is not specifically named in an injunction can by subject to the order after personal service with a copy of the injunction.
Eliminates the provision that sets an order entered into under the statute to expire one year after entry unless extended by the court for good cause established by the plaintiff after a hearing. Makes conforming change.
Adds new subsection (e), establishing that in any proceeding pursuant to Article 13B, expert testimony is admissible to show particular conduct, status, and customs indicative of criminal gangs and criminal gang activity. Details possible expert testimony that can be used in those proceedings.
Adds new subsection (f) to provide that, in case of violation of any injunction granted under Article 13B, the court, or in vacation a judge thereof, can (1) find the defendant guilty of contempt and punish the defendant as provided in GS 19-4 and/or (2) find the defendant guilty of violating orders of the court as provided in GS 14-226.1.
Effective December 1, 2017, and applies to offenses committed on or after that date.
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