OGDEN -- Another Trece has left the gang, convincing officials to take his name off the Ogden Trece Injunction.
Zack Stirdivant, 33, becomes the third Trece to take advantage of the opt-out clause in the 2-year-old injunction, a unique law-enforcement tool meant to clear the streets of Treces, Ogden's oldest street gang. All three to leave are older members.
Stirdivant said he became involved with gangs at age 14, when gang members stood up for him in Ogden schoolyard conflicts. "They're friends I grew up with," he said.
A turning point for him came three years ago, he said, when his girlfriend gave birth to twin boys, who were taken away by the state Division of Child and Family Services because of his criminal record and gang status.
"I'm done," he said in an interview. "I'm tired of getting in trouble, of going to jail, going to prison."
He and the mother of his children are both working to get their lives together in order to try for custody of their children, he said.
At his 45-minute opt-out hearing before 2nd District Judge Ernie Jones on Oct. 24, the Weber County Attorney's Office contested Stirdivant's opt-out request, noting he still associates with gang members, even though he has had no recent gang-related troubles.
"I got on the stand and told them, the guys come to visit me, but I don't leave with them," he said. Backing that claim, his Weber Human Services therapist, Alison Barber, wrote a letter to the judge and testified for him at the Oct. 24 hearing.
Barber, in her letter, said she has been counseling Stirdivant for five years, citing progress on his "issues of impulsivity, anger management and relationship problems ... He has significantly reduced his consumption of alcohol, recognizing that his aggressiveness is exacerbated when he drinks."
Deputy Weber County Attorney Chris Allred said prosecutors and the Ogden-Metro Gang Unit are concerned with Stirdivant because he still has a large Trece tattoo on the back of his head, in addition to other gang indicia.
"He continues to associate with Treces, and the judge told him he can easily be re-instated," Allred said. "But nonetheless the gang injunction is doing just what it's supposed to do in getting people to leave the Treces."
The county attorney's office did not oppose the other two opt-outs granted by the court.
Leland McCubbin, 39, was the first to opt out, in May. Santiago Boney, 33, opted-out Aug. 21, one day after Judge Jones ordered the injunction changed from preliminary to permanent status, the biggest legal hurdle to date for the two-year-old injunction enacted Sept. 27, 2010.
Citing constitutional concerns, Trece lawyers and the ACLU have appealed the injunction to the Utah Supreme Court. A ruling by the justices is thought to be a year away, with oral arguments still to be scheduled.
A first for Utah, the injunction bans Treces from associating with each other in public, or being in the vicinity of guns, drugs or alcohol in public. It also sets an 11 p.m. curfew for Trece members.
Two other suspected Treces -- one saying he is not, the other saying he is no longer -- have written letters to the court since May about activating the opt-out clause, but have not taken any further steps.
The Weber County Attorney's Office reviews the opt-out requests, which includes background checks and such things as verifying employment, as well as consulting with the Ogden-Metro Gang Unit. The major requirement to be met is an absence of gang-related convictions for three years.