Senate Bill No. 123
(By Senator Buckalew)
[Introduced January 14, 1998; referred to the Committee
on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend chapter sixty-one of the code of West Virginia,
one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, by adding
thereto a new article, designated article three-f, relating
to prohibiting criminal street gang activities; defining
terms; creating penalties; and allowing court to suspend all
or part of mandatory sentence imposed by this article.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That chapter sixty-one of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended by
adding thereto a new article, designated article three-f, to read
ARTICLE 3F. CRIMINAL STREET GANGS.
As used in this article:
(a) "Criminal street gang" means any ongoing organization, association, or group of three or more persons, whether formal or
informal, which has as one of its primary activities the
commission of one or more of the criminal acts set forth below or
which has a common name or common identifying sign or symbol,
whose members individually or collectively engage in or have
engaged in a pattern of criminal gang activity.
(b) "Pattern of criminal gang activity" means the commission
or attempted commission of two or more of the following offenses,
at least one of which offenses occurred after the initial
enacting of this article and the last of which offenses occurred
within three years after a prior offense and the offenses are
committed on separate occasions or by two or more persons: (1)
First or second degree murder or manslaughter; (2) armed robbery;
(3) malicious wounding or aggravated battery; (4) the sale,
possession with intent to sale, transportation, manufacture,
offer for sale controlled substances; (5) illegal use of or
possession of firearms or dangerous weapons; (6) aggravated
arson; (7) intimidating, impeding or injuring witnesses, or
injuring law-enforcement officers; or (8) grand larceny, or theft
of any vehicle, trailer or vessel.
§61-3F-2. Criminal street gangs; prohibitions; penalties.
(a) Any person convicted of a felony or an attempted felony
which is committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in
association with any criminal street gang, with the intent to promote, further or assist in the affairs of a criminal street
gang, shall, upon conviction of that felony, in addition and
consecutive to the punishment prescribed for the felony or
attempted felony of which he or she has been convicted, be
imprisoned for not less than one year nor more than one half of
the maximum term of imprisonment provided for that offense.
(b) Any person convicted of an offense other than a felony
which is committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or
in association with any criminal street gang, with the intent to
promote, further or assist in the affairs of a criminal street
gang, with the specific intent to promote, further or assist in
any criminal conduct or enterprise by gang members, shall, in
addition and consecutive to the penalty provided for that
offense, be imprisoned for an additional period of six months.
(c) The court may elect to suspend all or a part of any
additional mandatory punishment or enhanced punishment provided
under this article only in an unusual case where the interests of
justice would best be served, and if the court specifies on the
record and enters into the minutes the circumstances and reasons
that the interests of justice would best be served by that
suspension of punishment.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to prohibit street gang
activities and to provide penalties therefore.
This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.