Skip to comments.Experts differ about ripple effect of Aryan Brotherhood verdict
Posted on 07/29/2006 12:03:39 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
Federal prosecutors in Southern California toiled for years to build a case strong enough to cut off the head of the notorious Aryan Brotherhood prison gang and end its 40-year reign over the federal and state prison system.
On Friday, the government saw the fruits of its labor: a sweeping verdict that convicted four top gang leaders of murder, conspiracy and racketeering and made two of the defendants eligible for the death penalty.
Yet as prosecutors celebrated, legal analysts and prison gang experts questioned whether the government's near-complete victory will translate into what authorities so keenly desire - the eventual demise of the brotherhood and a reduction in prison violence.
"It was very successful and I think that they will use the racketeering charge again," said Laurie Levenson, a professor at Loyola Law School and a former federal prosecutor who has tried prison murder cases.
"But the truth is, this (gang) is like a hydra - you cut off a limb and it's going to grow back," she said. "These guys have been around a long time and they're going to get new leaders.
"It's heartening that law enforcement officers and prosecutors who have to do these cases see that there are some good results," Levenson said. "But do I think this marks the end of prison gangs? No way, nobody thinks that."
Prosecutors declined to comment because the death penalty phase of the trial for two defendants, Barry "The Baron" Mills and T.D. "The Hulk" Bingham, is still pending. It begins Aug. 15 when the same jury that convicted them will consider whether they should be executed or face life in prison.
Prosecutors have said previously they chose to pursue the death penalty to dismantle a gang whose top members are already serving life terms and seem unfazed by that punishment.
Of the 40 people originally arrested in 2002, more than a dozen could face the death penalty. Many of those are scheduled to face juries in two trials in Los Angeles later this year.
But those familiar with the Aryan Brotherhood wonder whether even the threat of death will be enough to prevent future brotherhood members from joining the gang.
"One certainly wonders sometimes what we've achieved by these kinds of trials," said William McGuigan, a San Diego defense attorney who has represented defendants from several different prison gangs, including the Hells Angels, the Aryan Brotherhood and the Mexican Mafia.
"When they're approached about joining these kinds of gangs, very violent gangs, they tell them, 'You guys are going to join' and if they say no, they're looking at the death penalty next week, not in 20 years," he said. "I don't think it does anything."
Levenson and others also noted that using the federal racketeering statute, which was created to target criminal enterprises like the Mafia and not prison gangs, has met with mixed success.
When prosecutors applied it in the 2004 trial of David Michael Sahakian and two other Aryan Brotherhood members in Illinois the result was a hung jury on the main charges of murder and conspiracy.
Sahakian will be retried later this year in Los Angeles.
Some observers said the California trial itself will likely have more impact on the brotherhood than the verdict.
During four months of testimony, dozens of former gang members and prison officials testified in great detail about the gang's operations, secret codes and rules. Testimony included explanations of a complex, coded alphabet; how to make invisible ink with urine; and how inmates hid and passed along messages between cells and even different prisons.
"I think that the prosecution unfolded and exposed a lot of their tactics in this case. The toolbox has been exposed - they're going to have to think up new tricks," said Melissa Carr, a special projects supervisor for the Anti-Defamation League who followed the trial closely.
"I think it sends a very strong message to the prison gang system, that these kinds of things aren't going to be tolerated."
"secret codes and rules. Testimony included explanations of a complex, coded alphabet; how to make invisible ink with urine; and how inmates hid and passed along messages between cells and even different prisons."
Oh, the horror. Meanwhile, the bloods and crips run ghetto America, and gangsta rap corrodes the kids. But white guys in prison are finding ways to send messsages and that has to stop.
Who was it that wisely observed prisons are a macrocosm of our society? Pissing away our tax dollars in an attempt to make right a reflection of ourselves is not unlike the dog chasing his tail, and this is what we have here.
So what's the big deal?
Things on the inside will change only when things on the outside have changed - and that ain't never gonna happen.
Big money controls the patents on mouse traps.
When the Aryan Brotherhood no longer fit into big moneys' management of Crime USA, well mannered captains of industry - who control the whole game - will eliminate them, and that ain't gonna happen, either. 'Crime control' will always stop just short of ridding the system of bought off black robes and their lockstep scum in the legal trade who have but one task - keep a tight lock on who gets a slice of the pie.
For a business that boasts ".....we're bigger than GM.....", you've got to begin to understanding from the get-go : there are no clean hands in the board rooms.
Nazis are evil, but the only people who actually believe they're dangerous these days are in Hollywood.
MS13 and Hugo are a lot more dangerous, and we don't really seem to be doing squat about either of them.
The rupple effect is that the other 4 members will be more careful...
Gangs: The Culture of Prison Life
You can't try stopping just ONE of the gangs when there are SEVERAL of them. All that will do is further empower the others.
Are you f----g kidding me? The Bloods and the Crips don't justify the Aryan Brotherhood, one of the more violent gangs out there.
Get it now?
They are supposedly active outside of prison too. Remember - most prisoners eventually get out. Regardless, they have a history of murders.
Precisely why prisoners should not be allowed to congregate together in the first place.
I'm thinking that the Brotherhood is mainly a way for white guys to survive in a prison where they are a hated minority
....anyone care to guess when KarLaRazaRove will stop by and make a guest appearance to the Aryan Brotherhood?
" I'm thinking that the Brotherhood is mainly a way for white guys to survive in a prison where they are a hated minority"
No doubt many whites join the brotherhood or the like for protection, but they are still a violent organized criminal entity. I don't agree with some making this a racial issue, saying that people don't target other gangs like the AB. This is totally false. Compared to their numbers in the penal system, they commit violent crimes inside the walls at a disproportionate percentage.
Like I said before, they've been hammering the other major prison gangs like the mexican mafia and nuestra familia, two of the more violent and dangerous prison gangs in California and the U.S. I don't care what race a gang or gang member is, they are still a menace to society after they get out