Challenges and Issues in Investigating & Prosecuting Gang-Related Crimes

Challenges and Issues in Investigating & Prosecuting Gang-Related Crimes
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Resources
Recorded on: 2020-03-31
Unit 1Slide Deck: Challenges and Issues in Investigating & Prosecuting Gang-Related Crimes
Unit 2Workbook: Challenges Issues in Investigating Prosecuting Gang Related Crime 584
Unit 3Recording: Challenges and Issues in Investigating & Prosecuting Gang-Related Crimes

This course is the third installment of Justice Clearinghouse’s Gang Related Crime Series. The first part introduced us to criminal street gangs and gang-related crimes. Meanwhile,  the second course in the series dived into the evolving nature of gangs and its implication on their criminal activity. This session will tie things up together as it talks about handling these cases, the challenges, and tips to build and prosecute these cases.

This session’s instructor is Dan Fisher from the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office’s Gang Bureau. He’s successfully prosecuted numerous gang-related cases. He was also recognized for his work in the field as the Arizona Gang Investigators Prosecutor of the Year in 2018. Nick Cooksey will also be weighing in on the topic. Nick is a paralegal for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and provides insider tips on how to process these cases.

Specifics discussed in this webinar include:

  • A refresher on the definition of criminal street gangs, gang members, and gang associates.
  • How gang trials are different than others in terms of the evidence required to prove gang involvement.
  • The types of gang crimes committed – definitions and examples.
  • What an individual involved in a gang would typically want to do and know once arrested and how these motivate them to commit crimes while in jail.
  • The common types of crimes street gang members tend to commit from jail – how they do this and how prosecutors can step in in such instances.
  • Tips when it comes to investigation and prosecution
    • Creating a networking or family tree of the subject.
    • Rallying the involved groups to accomplish tasks.
    • Effective communications with the stakeholders to build robust cases.
  • A look into the common schemes that a defendant may utilize to get things to go in their favor with real-world examples.
  • Gang threats – what qualifies as a threat and intimidation and how it is evaluated.
  • Arizona’s gang enhancement statutes that may be used to intensify the sentencing for gang-related crimes.

Some of the topics addressed during the Q&A were about:

  • Examples of manipulation of visitation.
  • Gang involvement in human trafficking.
  • The evolution of the types of crime gangs are involved in.
  • Working with tech and social media companies to gather information for investigation and prosecution.
  • Using fake or ghost social media accounts for investigation.


This is the third of a 3-part Series on Gang-Related Crime.  The other webinars in this series include:



Audience Comments

  • “Really informative presentation. The common types of crimes committed from jail was very valuable, as well as learning what the 7 criteria are for documenting street gangs in AZ. Thank you!” — Denise
  • “I am a juvenile probation officer and within the agency, there are many individuals who are not fans of the use of social media. I currently work with high profile gang-involved clients and the use of social media is used for my safety and the safety of the officers I am with in the field. I really liked that there was information at the end on how useful social media is used for identification purposes.”  — Leslie
  • “The segment on dealing with witnesses was valuable.” — Lisa
  • “It provided me some more insight into the intersection of gang trafficking.” — Meagan
  • “Prosecuting gang-related cases from beginning to end; pictures of gang-related correspondence was informative.” — Sonya
  • “Gangs in general and their behavior is constantly evolving.” — Yolonda



Additional Resources
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