June 19-20, 2010

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Creating gang court has district attorney concerned

GOSHEN – Orange County District Attorney Frank Phillips is miffed over Assemblyman Frank Skartados’ proposal to create a gang court in the county.

Skartados has teamed up with Assemblyman Brian Foley to sponsor the bill, which would also create a similar court on Long Island.

Phillips wonders why there is a necessity since in county court right now, gang members are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

“Gang members who are prosecuted in our county court are charged with very serious felonies,” he said. “These are people we don’t want diverted in the manner that drug offenders are diverted into treatment. We want these gang members to go to prison for the longest possible term possible to get them off the streets.”

Skartados, meanwhile, said his goal is more than just putting people away.

“While I am hopeful that this will be an effective program, I am not saying it will be the only thing,” he said. “Obviously, we have to address the job creation and positive activities to stop these kids from joining gangs and stop kids from killing kids.”

Phillips said if Albany really wants to help curb the gang problem, officials should pump more money into law enforcement.


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