As the Georgia Supreme Court has issued its final opinion on the Georgia Streetgang Terrorism and Prevention Act, several issues are now raised. While the interpretation of the statute appears to be correct, the question still arises of whether or not this interpretation is consistent with the legislative intent of this Act as a whole.
Clearly, the issue which the Act was enacted to prevent was harm to innocent third-parties by criminal streetgangs. While a commercial property owners may not be able to fully police the area in which their property is located, shouldn’t these individuals be held to a standard at least to provide adequate security if these owners clearly are aware of the dangers imposed and attracted by their facilities?
However, the only option left is for the Georgia General Assembly to correct this legislation if it determines that it is not consistent with the Act’s overall legislative intent. While other state statutes have not provided a means for this type of action yet, Georgia could still be a trailblazer in the arena.
The risk of harm to innocent third parties will greatly diminish by holding commercial property owners to a higher standard and protecting their tenants when they know, should have known, or have been notified of the use of their facilities by gangs. Furthermore, by re-drafting this legislation to do so would encourage other states to perhaps make the same implementation in their gang violence statutes as well.
Pittman, S. Meghan
"Trouble with Treble Damages for Third Parties: The Georgia Streetgang Terrorism and Prevention Act,"
Mercer Law Review: Vol. 73:
1, Article 23.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.mercer.edu/jour_mlr/vol73/iss1/23