Dallas Family Charged With Engaging in Organized Crime
Dallas Police brought Engaging in Organized Crime charges against four family members this week. Police allege that family members participated in a forced abortion of a 14 year old niece when they learned that she had become pregnant from a sexual assault by a family member. The attacked involved beating the girls for hours forcing miscarriage. The body of the child was later burned and disposed of by other family members.
These details are very disturbing and will the defendants will be aggressively prosecuted, but is Engaging in Organized Crime the correct charge under this scenario? I don’t think so. In order to charge a person with Engaging in Organized crime in Texas you must have at least three people join a combination and commit one of the enumerated crimes under the statute. Just because you have three or more people commit a crime together doesn’t mean they can be charged with Engaging in Organized Crime. The combination must have the intent to commit a serious of crimes. It can’t be just a single episode.
For example, when there is a car theft ring of three or more people who are in the business of stealing cars they can be Charged with the Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity. This is because you have a continuing criminal enterprise. It isn’t a one time event.
The problem with charging this family with Engaging in Organized Crime is that this was a single episode. They can be charged with various serious crimes such as Aggravated Assault, Murder, and perhaps Capital Murder. After further investigation the Dallas District Attorney’s Office will likely bring different charges in the Grand Jury.