Leap on Consequences of Harsh Gang Laws

Adjunct Professor of Social Welfare Jorja Leap spoke to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the impact of harsh gang laws in Georgia. Maurice Franklin, a 28-year-old father of four with no felony record or prior accusations of violence, is being held without bond after the victim of a drive-by shooting found his Facebook page and said she recognized him. Franklin faces up to 760 years in prison if convicted, despite having multiple alibi witnesses at the time of the crime, which  injured no one. The charges were increased because authorities allege the shooting was gang-related; Franklin denies that he is a gang member or had anything to do with the drive-by shooting. According to Leap, “heavy-handed charging decisions like that haven’t been shown to drive down crime.” She explained that cases like this one can also lead to further mistrust of police, particularly in communities of color. “I think this is a tragic case of prosecutorial overreach,” Leap said.

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