Ogden gang injunction made permanent; appeal expected

Published: Monday, Aug. 20 2012 2:46 p.m. MDT

OGDEN — A controversial injunction against an Ogden street gang is now permanent.

On Monday, 2nd District Judge Ernie W. Jones granted a permanent injunction against the street gang Ogden Trece, also known as Centro City Locos.

The injunction prohibits the estimated 315 to 500 gang members from associating with each other within an area of Ogden designated as the "Safety Zone," regardless of whether they are in the process of committing a crime. That includes a ban on "driving, standing, sitting, walking, gathering or appearing together with any known member of Ogden Trece anywhere in public view or any place accessible to the public," according to court documents.

There are exceptions for Trece members for sitting next to each other in school or church, the injunction states. The "Safety Zone" is a designated area encompassing most of the city.

Michael Studebaker, one of the attorneys who represented the gang members, said he was not surprised by the ruling based upon how an earlier court hearing went. He said he is "confident there will be an appeal."

"We hope the appellate court understands the Constitution," he said. "Our position from day one is (the injunction) is unconstitutional."

The Trece gang argues the injunction violates their First Amendment right to free association.

In his ruling, however, Jones wrote: "The court finds that the injunction does not violate the United States Constitution."

"The provisions in the injunction order are necessary to abate gang activity," the ruling states.

The defense now has 30 days to appeal.

The injunction also bans Trece members from threatening or harassing anyone who witnesses a crime committed by gang members, and also bans them from having firearms, drugs, alcohol, creating graffiti or trespassing and requires the gang to obey the city's curfew and all laws.

Those who feel they have been unfairly labeled as a Trace member may file for an exemption, or may be excluded from falling under the injunction guidelines if they have "renounced the Ogden Trece gang and gang life" or declared they were never a gang member, according to the court order. In order to do that, the person must have no gang-related arrests over the past three years, not have any Trece-related tattoo, and not have had any police-documented association with a known Ogden Trece member during that time.

A temporary injunction was issued in 2010 when police declared Ogden Trece, the city's largest gang, a public nuisance. The 331-page injunction included more than 100 pages of photographs of gang tattoos, graffiti, hand signs and clothing and accused Trece of everything from graffiti to murder.

Similar injunctions have been used against gangs in California, where authorities claim it has been successful.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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