By Dave Oedel
This week, sitting in the gallery during parts of the trial of Andre Maurice Bonner, 32, who was convicted Friday for the murder of 17-year-old Jamonni Bland in the parking deck outside the Zodiac Lounge in Macon near Walnut and Broadway at about 3:30 a.m. on July 5, 2013, I thought about the constitutionality of Georgia’s law on street gangs. Georgia’s Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act adds stiff penalties for crimes committed in association with street gangs – sentences of three to fifteen years in addition to the penalties for the predicate crimes committed. Bonner is affiliated with Macon’s Westside Mafia, a so-called hybrid street gang, and Bonner was also convicted of several street-gang enhancements.
The possible unconstitutionality of Georgia’s anti-gang law probably won’t matter to Bonner, though, whose conviction for murder largely moots the issue for him. He’ll be imprisoned for a very long time, so any enhancements to his sentence may well be practically irrelevant. … Continue Reading