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2 Stan. J. C.R. & C.L. 115 (2005-2006)
The Constitutional Failure of Gang Databases

handle is hein.journals/stjcrcl2 and id is 125 raw text is: ARTICLE
Joshua D. Wright*
Law   enforcement agencies increasingly utilize databases, such  as
California's Calgang system, to facilitate data sharing and prosecution of
criminal defendants in gang-related cases. Suspected gang members typically
enter the database through documentation, a highly subjective process
resulting in serious legal and social consequences such as increased probability
of conviction, longer sentences, loss of employment, and other stigmatizing
effects. An examination of the documentation process reveals serious defects
above and beyond the subjective nature of documentation criteria. Research
strongly suggests that documentation procedures suffer from a general lack of
quality control and oversight in maintaining the database, causing frequently
erroneous documentation. Erroneously documented persons are left without
recourse and can be left in the database for their entire lifetime whether or not
they are involved in a gang because the responsible agencies systematically fail
to adhere to policies requiring names to be purged after specified amounts of
time without criminal or gang activity. These features of gang databases raise
serious due process questions. In this article, 1 assert that documentation without
a hearing violates the procedural due process guarantees of the Constitution. A
hearing requirement would not only immunize documentation practices from
constitutional challenges by allowing input from the affected parties, but would
also increase database accuracy, thereby improving the efficacy of databases as
a     tool    in    policing     and     prosecuting    gang     crime.

*   Assistant Professor, George Mason University School of Law. J.D. UCLA School of
Law; Ph.D. UCLA Department of Economics. I thank Charles Katz for valuable comments
on a previous draft. I both owe and dedicate this article to Jerome Silvels and his family.
Please do not cite or quote without the author's permission.

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