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ACLU appeals Ogden Trece gang injunction

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, Sept. 16 2012 8:01 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah is appealing an order banning members of the Ogden Trece gang from associating with one another in public.

The ACLU filed notice of the appeal last week of what it calls the most sweeping gang injunction in the country. The appeal came after 2nd District Judge Ernie Jones made permanent last month an injunction first ordered temporarily in 2010.

The injunction also sets an 11 p.m. curfew for Ogden Trece members and makes it illegal for them to carry guns or graffiti tools.

An attorney partnering with the ACLU, David Reymann, called the injunction an "unprecedented" infringement on constitutional rights.

Weber County asked for the injunction to curb criminal activity of a gang authorities believe has more than 350 members.

The U.S. Supreme Court previously refused to suspend the injunction.

The prohibitions apply to anyone Ogden police think belong to the gang.

"No one disputes that gang crime exists and is a problem in our communities," Reymann said. "That fact does not justify imposing martial law on a targeted minority group and sacrificing core constitutional liberties for the mere illusion of security."

Other permanent injunctions have been entered against gangs, notably in California, but are much narrower, with one injunction covering a four-block area, he said.

Just last year, however, Los Angeles County prosecutors obtained a permanent injunction to make a 16-square-mile area of the San Gabriel Valley off-limits to gangs.

Ogden's prohibitions apply to a 25-square-mile city.

Weber County was granted the preliminary injunction in 2010 after bringing evidence that members of the gang engaged in a pattern of criminal activity, including homicide, robbery, theft and drug and weapons violations.

Lt. Scott Conley, commander of the Ogden police gang and crime reduction unit, said graffiti has decreased 38.6 percent and total gang crime has dropped 11.8 percent since the initial injunction was approved in 2010.

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