Ogden's injunction against Trece gang holds up in court

May 4 2012 - 10:10pm

OGDEN -- The city's injunction against the Ogden Trece gang withstood another attack Friday in 2nd District Court.

Judge Ernie Jones dismissed motions claiming the injunction was unconstitutional, clearing the way for a full-blown trial scheduled to begin June 11 and run for five days.

The injunction bans members of Trece, the city's oldest and likely largest street gang, from associating in public, being in the vicinity of guns, drugs or alcohol and staying out past an 11 p.m. curfew.

Common in California and used in a few other states, the injunction is a first in Utah.

In place since September 2010, the injunction has no formal expiration date but is still legally considered a preliminary injunction until the trial is completed.

Jones denied the defense motions but he also in effect brokered the release by the Weber County Attorney's Office of all the names of Trece gang members in the Ogden Police Department's gang database.

Trece attorney Mike Studebaker said he has for months been asking for the entire gang database going back 10 years, calling officials refusal to release it "stonewalling ...

"I can't talk to any known gang members and ask, 'Do you know if my client is a gang member?' "

But Deputy Weber County Attorney Branden Miles said turning over the entire gang database violates federal law regarding confidentiality, since it includes information on informants and other sensitive law enforcement research.

He said Studebaker has repeatedly been asked to be more specific in his request for information.

Jones asked if he could simply release the names of Treces listed in the database.

"I can do that today," Miles said.

Randy Richards and Studebaker pressed arguments that prosecutors claimed Jones had ruled on both before and after he signed the injunction into law Sept. 27, 2010, such as the Treces, as an unincorporated association, were not covered by such an injunction.

Treces' attorneys and the Utah Chapter of the ACLU maintain that the injunction amounts to curtailing behavior of individuals before they commit a crime. They continue to claim it amounts to unconstitutional search and seizure and is a suppression of First Amendment rights of association.

They point to the injunction's banning the carrying of felt-tipped pens as graffiti tools as an example of it being "constitutionally overbroad." The ACLU did not argue before Jones Friday, but a chapter associate was in the audience.

Jones agreed with Deputy Weber County Attorney Chris Allred who argued that the motions essentially re-argued what Jones has ruled on in the past.

"This amounts to undue delays and having to restart the litigation every time they ask you to reconsider your rulings," Allred said.

Ogden Trece was formed in 1974 originally under the name Ogden Knights, according to the 330-plus page injunction, which documents hundreds of Trece criminal incidents in Ogden going back several years, ranging from to loud parties, graffitti and an auto theft ring to homicide.

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