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7 Hastings Race & Poverty L.J. 111 (2010)
Interrogation is Not Ethnography: The Irrational Admission of Gang Cops as Experts in the Field of Sociology

handle is hein.journals/hasrapo7 and id is 115 raw text is: Interrogation Is Not Ethnography:

The Irrational Admission of Gang Cops as Experts
in the Field of Sociology
CHRISTOPHER MCGINNIs AND SARAH EISENHART*
Introduction
In California, in order to prove that a given crime is gang-related,
either for purposes of prosecution under the California Street
Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act (STEP Act) or to show
some other element of a crime such as motive, police officers are
regularly called by the prosecution and qualified by the courts as
gang   experts.   In  this comment, we       attack  the  evidentiary
foundations of police officer gang expert testimony introduced for
these purposes. The arguments are common sense, and rely upon
valid applications of the scientific method and legal precedent. We
conclude that police officers do not meet the requirements of any
accepted standard of admissibility, even the low bar set by the
opinion rule currently in place in California.
The regular qualification of police officers as gang experts is
especially troubling in the way it primarily affects minority
populations. According to Malcolm W. Klein, eighty-five percent of
street gang members are African American, Hispanic, or Asian.,
The fact that minority groups are overwhelmingly subjected to
prosecution using the testimony of unqualified experts is a disturbing
and pressing problem.
* Christopher B. McGinnis, 2010 J.D. Candidate, University of California, Hastings College
of the Law. Sarah Eisenhart, 2010 J.D. Candidate, University of California, Hastings College of
the Law. We would like to thank Professor David Faigman and Abby Sullivan for their valuable
comments and perspectives on drafts of this essay.
1. Malcolm W. Klein, Introduction to THE MODERN GANG READER at viii (Malcolm W.
Klein et al. eds., 1995).

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