BLOOD’S THICKER THAN WATER: DEFINING “COMMUNITY” FOR THE STATEMENT AGAINST SOCIAL INTEREST EXCEPTION TO THE HEARSAY RULE REGARDING DECLARANT- GANG MEMBERS.

Author: 

Kylie Finley

“‘Thou Shalt Not Snitch’ is the Golden Rule of gang culture.” If you snitch, you die. “Snitching” is defined as “the practice by which criminals give information to the police in exchange for material reward or reduced punishment.” For example, rapper Tekashi69 snitched on his fellow gang members during his in-court testimony for a high- profile racketeering case against members of his former gang, and his life is in such serious danger as a result of that testimony that he is pleading with the courts to transfer him to home confinement, where he will be out of the reach of members of his former gang. Additionally, a 2018 murder case in Detroit charged three gang members who kidnapped and killed a woman who had been “labeled as a snitch.” These gang members forced the woman into the back seat of a car, shot her ten times, and then set her corpse on fire. A former member of the Bloods, Alpha “Swag” Privette, has testified that the “strictest rule” in a gang is “no snitching.” During the investigation of a murder in Minneapolis, investigators discovered a video depicting the strangulation of the victim. The video included audio where the murderer says, while holding the murder weapon around the victim’s neck, “See, see this guy, cop caller, for all you snitches . . . all will suffer the same.” As these examples demonstrate, the label of “snitch carries a price, not just of potential violence, but of ostracism” from the gang. Read more.

 

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