Judge rejects Trece attorney motions
Monday , June 11, 2012 - 1:34 PM
OGDEN -- Lawyers for Trece gang members got off to a rocky start today at the trial of the anti-gang Injunction, succeeding only in angering the judge with last-minute motions.
"That's a joke, I'm almost offended by that," 2nd District Judge Ernie Jones said in responding to attorney Mike Boyle arguments for naming Weber County Attorney Dee Smith as a witness in the case. Doing so would have effectively removed Smith from prosecuting the trial.
Jones denied the motion and was sharply critical of another motion Boyle filed this morning which claimed the injunction could be voided because Smith may not have been the duly appointed county attorney when he filed the injunction.
"I'm just amazed you come in here and file this at 9:15 a.m. on the first day of trial," Jones said. He denied the motion for not being filed in a timely manner, but said it could be resubmitted later.
The motion claimed the appointment of Smith in May 2009 may not have been done within the 45-day deadline required following the resignation of his predecessor, Mark DeCaria, who was appointed a district judge.
Boyle said if DeCaria resigned March 27, 2009, there could be a problem with Smith appointed May 12, 2009, and sworn in three days later. Boyle said during a court recess he had yet to confirm if DeCaria's formal resignation was March 27, a Friday, or March 30, the following Monday.
Jones also sparred all morning with attorney Randy Richards in overruling Richards' objections to testimony as hearsay as officers took the stand to describe Trece crimes over the years.
The trial, scheduled to run all week, is meant to determine if the injunction becomes permanent. In place since September 2010 as a preliminary injunction, it bans members of Ogden's oldest from associating with each other in public, being in the vicinity of guns, drugs or alcohol and staying out past an 11 p.m. curfew.
The injunction, common in Calfornia but rarely used elsewhere, is a first for Utah. Opponents call it an unconstitutional taking of First and Second Amendment rights that too easily names individuals as gang members.