Precisely what constitutes a gang has been a hotly contested academic issue for a century. Recently, this problem has ceased to be purely academic and has developed urgent, real-world consequences. Almost every state and the federal government has enacted anti-gang laws in the past several decades. These anti-gang statutes must define ‘gang’ in order to direct police suppression efforts and to criminally punish gang members or associates. These statutory gang definitions are all too often vague and overbroad, as the example of the Juggalos demonstrates. The Juggalos are the fans of Insane Clown Posse, and have been declared a gang by several states and organs of the federal government despite all evidence to the contrary. The Juggalos are merely one example of how overbroad gang definitions have enabled arbitrary and discriminatory police action. This Comment discusses these faulty gang definitions, how gangs are defined in a non-legal context, and solutions to the gang definition problem.
Zachariah D. Fudge,
Gang Definitions, How Do They Work?: What the Juggalos Teach Us About the Inadequacy of Current Anti-Gang Law,
97 Marq. L. Rev. 979
Available at: http://scholarship.law.marquette.edu/mulr/vol97/iss4/6