15 Asian Am. L.J. 267 (2008)
Introduction to Eddy Zheng

handle is hein.journals/aslj15 and id is 269 raw text is: Introduction to Eddy Zheng
Thomas Kuat
In 1986, when Eddy Zheng was sixteen years old, he and two of his
friends broke into the home of a Chinese immigrant family in San
Francisco, hoping to find a safe filled with money and other valuable
items.' When there was no safe to be found, their ill-advised armed home
invasion quickly developed into a six-hour debacle involving hostage-
taking, kidnapping, and extortion. The criminal escapade finally ended
when the police pulled over Zheng and one of his cohorts for driving
without their headlights on. Zheng, who was tried as an adult, eventually
pleaded guilty to robbery, kidnapping, and possession of a firearm.' He was
sentenced to seven years to life with the possibility of parole for his
Zheng was released in 2007 after serving nineteen years of his life
sentence in state prison and nearly two years in the custody of the
Immigration and Customs Enforcement He now works as a project
coordinator for the Community Response Network for Asian Pacific
Islanders (CRN-API)4 at the Community Youth Center of San Francisco. In
his day-to-day work, Zheng strives to prevent youth from making the same
mistakes he did as a teenager. He believes this goal requires a coordinated
effort among community based organizations, parents, schools, and local
law enforcement to combat the underlying struggles that immigrant youth
often face-living simultaneously in two cultures, navigating the public
school system, and struggling to find a sense of belonging and camaraderie.
Zheng's story can best be described as one of redemption and
transformation. It is often said that prison changes a person, and Zheng is a
testament to that fact-but not in the way one might think. Although prison
is, more often than not, a place where despair overwhelms hope, Zheng has
I J.D., 2008, University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law; B.A., 2000,
University of California, Davis.
1. Kara Platoni, The Last Stand of Eddy Zheng, EAST BAY EXPRESS, Aug. 10, 2005, available at
http://www.eastbayexpress.com/news/the-last-stand of eddie zheng/Content?oid=289640 (last visited
April 12, 2008).
2. Id.
3. Id.
4. CRN-API is a collaborative framework that addresses youth gang violence issues by
incorporating existing neighborhood services, funded programs and coordinating these efforts across
programs and agencies. San Francisco Department of Children, Youth & Their Families,
http://www.dcyf.org/Content.aspx?id= 1350&note= 1492.

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