Prosecutor dismissing Idaho gang recruitment charges

Idaho Press-Tribune | April 16, 2012

SANDPOINT, Idaho — A northern Idaho county is dropping criminal gang-recruitment charges against five people following an Idaho Supreme Court decision making it more difficult to prove the law was broken.

The Bonner County Daily Bee reports that Bonner County Deputy Prosecutor Shane Greenbank has moved to dismiss the charges against five people associated with the Hermanos Motorcycle Club.

The Supreme Court upheld the recruitment law in January but said prosecutors would have to prove a person was drawn to a gang specifically to engage in criminal activity. The court said merely inviting a person to be a member of a criminal gang doesn’t amount to inviting the person to break the law.

“It’s almost impossible to try to get to that level of activity,” Greenbank said. “These groups, they just want numbers. Once they get the numbers up, then everybody falls into step.”

A grand jury indicted Bryan Michael Lukezich, Steven Jay Beal, Dale Michael Champine, James Ray Smith and Jonathan Brandon Bates for allegedly recruiting criminal gang members for the Hermanos. Authorities say the Hermanos is a support club for the outlaw Bandidos Motorcycle Club.

Read more at: http://www.idahopress.com/news/state/prosecutor-dismissing-idaho-gang-recruitment-charges/article_df5546d7-6594-5948-9154-e3a0bbfa41a8.html

Photo credit: Bonner County Sheriff’s Office

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