USA v. Joshua Lucas
FILED OPINION (M. MARGARET MCKEOWN, KIM MCLANE WARDLAW and RICHARD C. TALLMAN) AFFIRMED. Judge: RCT Authoring. FILED AND ENTERED JUDGMENT. 
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SAN FRANCISCO / 'Trigger Lock' law helps cut gang-related killings in half /
Focus on Bayview, Western Addition showing results
violent predators and subject them to federal prosecution were showing
that efforts by city investigators and federal officials to identify the city's most
Deputy Chief Morris Tabak told police commissioners at their weekly meeting
percent in the first half of the year, police said.
Overall, the number of homicides in San Francisco dropped more than 20
police officials said Wednesday.
year from 2004, thanks in part to intervention by federal law enforcement,
American neighborhoods has dropped by more than 50 percent so far this
The number of killings in San Francisco attributed to gangs in largely African
By Jaxon Van Derbeken Published 4:00 am, Thursday, July 21, 2005
In the first six months of this year, there were 41 homicides in San Francisco, 16 of them believed to be the result of gang
disputes in African American areas such as the Bayview and Western Addition, Tabak said. In the same period last year, there
were 53 slayings, 36 of which were attributed to gangs in largely black neighborhoods.
"We are committed to stopping the violence," said Tabak, who is in charge of the investigations bureau. "I am very encouraged
and happy with the numbers over the past year."
The most important factor in the decline, police say, is the effort to take violent criminals off the streets with the help of the
federal "Trigger Lock" law, which provides for prison terms of 10 years or more for convicted felons who are caught with a
Last year, 77 defendants were referred for federal Trigger Lock prosecution in San Francisco. So farved
i this year, police have
referred 111 cases to federal prosecutors, who have taken 33 and are reviewing 20 others. 3
010 Local prosecutors are pursuing 32
more of the cases, with the remaining 26 not resulting in charges.
Authorities have had trouble building criminal cases A state court or even arresting suspects in gang homicides, partly
because fear of retaliation makes witnesses reluctant to come forward.
Prosecutors with the U.S. attorney's office, however, have lodged federal homicide charges against nine suspects in a total of
six gang-related killings recently, partly because they were able to persuade witnesses to testify before grand juries, Tabak
San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris has ruled out using grand juries to indict suspects on state homicide charges,
saying witnesses' testimony can't be used at trial if the witnesses are unavailable by then.
Anjali Chaturvedi, the federal prosecutor who is chief of the local organized crime strike force, said the closed grand jury
proceedings had proved to be valuable in getting witnesses to open up.
"There is a sense of safety by coming to the grand jury," she said. "Witnesses are targeted in the cases -- the grand jury is able
to protect those witnesses willing to come forward."
Along with the drop in killings, police have increased the number of guns seized over 2004, Tabak said. Officers confiscated
570 firearms in the first six months of 2005, 100 more than in the first six months of 2004, he said.
Thomas Mazzucco, the federal coordinator who handles Trigger Lock cases, said, "The word is out on the street -- if you are
convicted felon, you should not be carrying a firearm and using it. ... You may end up in the Federal Building."
Kevin Ryan, the U.S. attorney in San Francisco, said his office plans to continue its anti-gang efforts.
"We feel we have had a dramatic impact on the level of violence in the city of San Francisco," he said.
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