The injunction in Ogden that bans members of the Ogden Trece gang from associating with each other and being near guns, drugs or alcohol in public has been a success. It has harmed the gang's ability to commit crime in Junction City. Both police and prosecutors agree that the 200-plus arrests due to the injunction have resulted in a drop in gang activity, not only for Trece, but other area gangs.
Also, nuisance crimes such as graffiti have been reduced. It would be a huge mistake for the Utah Supreme Court to rule that the injunction is unconstitutional.
Fortunately, that's not likely to happen. The courts have consistently ruled against the injunction being suspended. Previously, the Utah Supreme Court rejected a claim that there were logistical problems with the injunction. Also, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by a Trece suspect last year.
The Trece injunction is new for Utah, but this tool for law enforcement has been used successfully in California. Also, California courts have routinely upheld the use of these types of injunctions for the past 20 years. Critics of the Trece injunction, including the American Civil Liberties Union, argue that the injunction is so broad that it could include anyone who lives in Ogden. But the injunction, with more than 300 pages, is thorough and well-documented. It lists Trece-related crimes going back several years, including drug trafficking, homicides, assaults, burglaries and an auto theft ring. The gang is a threat to the city and its residents. Its members need to be closely monitored by law enforcement.
The best argument for the injunction is that it has clamped down on a criminal gang that was once operating easily in our community. Criminal activity has decreased as a result of the injunction, and the rights of those obeying the law have not been threatened.
We are confident that Utah's high court will agree.