High court upholds gang law - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

High court upholds gang law

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

January 12, 2009

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A Georgia Supreme Court ruling Monday could clear the way for more prosecutions of suspected gangsters. The high court says Georgia's Gang Participation Act is constitutional.

That could affect cases such as the one against 18-year old Johnny Hill, Junior. He's charged with shooting Albany Police Officer Tim Harvey in June as Harvey tried to question him on 8th Avenue. Prosecutors say Hill is a gang member who was selling drugs that night.

District Attorney  Greg Edwards says the court ruling will help fight street gangs.  

"I think it is a very important message. It's a great tool for prosecutors, to be able to use all the activities that are demonstrated by gang bangers when they are tried. And it's going to be a great help for juries," Edwards said.

Critics claim the street gang participation law is too vague and broad. Edwards now plans to set court dates for several cases that were on hold while the Supreme Court heard the challenge.

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