Attorneys for targets of Ogden gang injunction file motions

Sep 24 2010 - 11:38am

OGDEN -- Attorneys for targets of the pending injunction against Ogden Trece have filed formal motions in response to the attempt to shut down the gang.

One motion seeks to kick the authors of the injunction off the case.

The papers filed Aug. 20 by the Weber County Attorney's Office against the city's oldest gang mark the first attempt in Utah to label a criminal street gang a public nuisance.

Accusing the gang of everything from murder to graffiti, the injunction would make it illegal for gang members to associate in public, or even be in the presence of, much less in possession of, guns, drugs and alcohol. It would also hit the gang with an 11 p.m. curfew.

The approach is popular in California. Los Angeles officials assisted the county attorney's office and the Ogden Metro Gang Unit in crafting the injunction over the past year.

Defense attorneys Mike Boyle and Mike Studebaker have filed motions seeking dismissal of the injunction. Boyle represents five defendants named in the injunction, Studebaker one. Two of the six have filed court papers claiming they are not Trece.

Studebaker filed a motion Sept. 17 seeking to disqualify the entire county attorney's office from the case. It notes that County Attorney Dee Smith, while a defense attorney, worked in a firm that represented at least four Treces now accused in the injunction.

"Mr. Smith has not put into place any adequate screening procedures to ensure no conflicts have occurred," reads the motion, calling the apparent conflict of interest a violation of the state's Rules of Professional Conduct.

In his motion for dismissal, Boyle argues the public nuisance designation is only meant to prevent "a current public nuisance" ongoing at the moment, not the past Trece crimes listed in the injunction. He labeled the injunction nothing more than a "historical overview of a narrow segment of the population of Ogden."

Studebaker argues the injunction violates the First, Second and Fourteenth Amendment rights of, respectively, free speech and assembly, to bear arms, and equal protection under the U.S. Constitution and corresponding sections of the Utah Constitution.

"Further, the County would seek to disallow rights such as possessing any spray paint container or felt-tip marker (as graffiti tools)," the motion reads. "They would also seek a prohibition of alcohol, even when the person consuming the alcohol is of legal age."

Enforcement of the county's injunction request has been delayed by courtroom battles, the latest to resume Monday before 2nd District Judge Ernie Jones.

Jones on Sept. 14 denied bids from the ACLU of Utah and the Utah Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers to join the case. That hearing ended with Detective Anthony Powers, the gang unit's Trece expert, undergoing cross-examination by Boyle and Studebaker. The cross-examination resumes Monday.

 

See the Ogden Trece injunction here.

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