Gang Expert Witness

Criminal Street Gangs
Gang Expert

Why Hire a Gang Expert?

Gang Expert WitnessMany juries do not understand the culture of gangs and the psychological motivations and implications of being involved. A gang expert can help. Clarity to an emotional topic which has been stereotyped in the media is most essential to your case. The role of an expert witness in the criminal justice system has been defined as a person who has some special training or experience in a criminal behavioral area and can help the judge, lawyers and the jury arrive at the truth in the judicial process (Yablonsky). As a gang expert witness Lisa Taylor-Austin, NCC, LPC, LMHC, CFMHE, CFBA, LCPC (scroll down for CV) serves as an independent, neutral party who testifies about the facts of the case. The role of the gang expert is to educate the jury, in layman’s terms, about gang life, gang history, gang culture, gang violence, gang hierarchy, gang laws, gang customs and the psychology of being in a gang.

First hand experience counseling gang members, being in urban housing projects and working in urban school settings with gang members is brought to the stand.

As an expert witness Ms. Taylor-Austin is impartial to the facts in the case. She can be hired by either the defense or prosecution and will professionally administer a professional opinion in an unbiased, fair and clear manner.

Why Hire a National Expert?

Although gangs vary by location and other factors, it is important to have an expert with first hand experience from both east and west coasts of the United States. Having a wider experience with street gangs, lends the ability to compare and contrast locales, explain differences and similarities to the jury, refute information which is not accurate, and analyze and explain how the local gang may vary or be similar to a gang with a national name (i.e. Crips, Bloods).

Lisa Taylor-Austin’s Biography

Lisa Taylor-Austin’s CV

Lisa Taylor-Austin, NCC, LPC, LMHC, CFMHE, CFBA, LCPC, LCMHC has been a professional counselor since 1988. She began her career working with gang members of some of the most notorious gangs in California: Santa Monica’s, V13, Culver City Boyz, Helms Street, and various Crip and Piru sets. Ms. Taylor-Austin was able to establish a trusting professional rapport with her clients and assist them with attaining their personal goals. She was instrumental in calming tension after a gang-related stabbing and assisted gang members to squelch their need for revenge. After a school shooting, she was helpful in assisting clients deal with post-traumatic-stress and return to functional day to day life. Ms. Taylor-Austin often describes her work as “walking between two worlds,” one of mainstream society and the other in the lives of inner city youth. She is a bridge between the two.

Ms. Taylor-Austin holds a Masters degree in Counseling, a Bachelor’s degree in Developmental and Behavioral Disabilities and a minor in African-American Studies. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Connecticut and Colorado, a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in Maine, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in New York and Vermont, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor Out-of-State Telehealth Provider in Florida, a Nationally Certified Counselor, a National Forensic Evaluator and a Certified Forensic Behavioral Analyst. Ms. Taylor-Austin is also a certified school counselor in Connecticut and a certified Community College Counselor in California.

She has been trained by Dr. Gregory Vecchi, Chief (retired) of the legendary Forensic Behavioral Science Unit (BSU) for the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). She has been trained in mass shooting, crisis management, psychopathology, threat assessments at school and at work and working with a hostage negotiation team.

After working in Los Angeles’ west side cities and at the University of Southern California and Stanford University, Ms. Taylor-Austin returned to the East coast where she works today. She has been an instructor for Yale University and continues to work on various gang projects, including criminal trials across the United States, in criminal, civil and immigration venues.

As a gang expert, Ms. Taylor-Austin’s role is to explain to the jury the culture, hierarchy, identifiers and psychology of being in a gang. She may also opine about whether a group of individuals are, in fact, a gang or an enterprise. Her role as a gang expert witness is a neutral one; focusing on the facts in the case and presenting an unbiased opinion.

Ms. Taylor-Austin worked closely with gang involved youth for over two decades in Los Angeles and Connecticut and also maintains a private practice, where she counsels adolescents and adults.

Professional Services Provided Nationally:

  • Expert Witness Testimony- Street Gangs
  • Review of Documents/Evidence
  • Written Reports for Court or Attorneys
  • Trial Strategy
  • Gang Graffiti Deciphering
  • Attorney Consultation

Clients Include:

  • Yale University Law School – Jerome Frank Legal Services Organization
  • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
  • Habeas Corpus Defense Unit
  • Southern Poverty Law Center
  • Office of the Public Defender (numerous locations nationwide)
  • Office of the Federal Public Defender
  • United States Marshals Service
Cases worked on have included: gang enhancements, gang injunctions, gang hierarchy, gang-related drug distribution, hip-hop music, immigration matters, mitigating factors in sentencing, death row cases, habeas corpus, life without parole habeas, and “G-checking” (Is the client really what he says he is?)

Our Professional Ethics

  • We only accept cases in which we feel qualified and in which we can assist.
  • You will receive a high degree of communication and information.
  • We respect the confidence you place in us and work in a professional, organized, and ethical manner.
  • You will be kept informed regarding our progress, questions we may have of you or your client, and billing.
  • References are Provided Upon Your Request.

Specializing in historically African-American gangs. Please telephone or email (preferred) to discuss how hiring a gang expert witness for your case will help you.

What our clients are saying…

Understanding Gang Culture via The Full Story (NPR) January 2019

Listen below (Lisa’s interview starts at 29:52):

Amid gang killings in Denver, expert notes the causes of violence – May 11, 2015

Listen below:

Lisa Taylor-Austin on

Lisa Taylor-Austin, 1997, Venice, California
Lisa Taylor-Austin, 1997, Venice, California