SALT LAKE CITY -- Attorneys representing members of the Ogden Trece and the American Civil Liberties Union filed petitions Monday with the Utah Supreme Court seeking an immediate appellate review of a street gang injunction imposed by a judge last week.
The ACLU of Utah also requested that the Utah Supreme Court block Weber County from enforcing the injunction until after the appeal is decided.
The injunction meant to sweep Ogden's oldest gang off the street formally went into effect Sept. 27, when 2nd District Judge Ernie Jones declared the gang a public nuisance.
Jones was responding to the 331-page injunction, proposed by Weber County Attorney Dee Smith's office, that lists Trece activities -- everything from murder to graffiti -- over the past three to five years.
The injunction, now a court order, bans Treces from associating in public, being around guns, drugs and alcohol, and staying out past 11 p.m.
Gang members have to be served a copy of the order before they can be found in violation of it.
The ACLU contends the injunction applies to anyone identified by law enforcement, using its own discretion and with no judicial oversight, to be a member of Trece.
"Law enforcement certainly has an interest in stopping gang-related crime," Darcy Goddard, legal director for the ACLU of Utah, said in a prepared statement. "But there is no evidence here or elsewhere that so-called gang injunctions are actually effective long-term.
"Nonetheless, in exchange for the county's tenuous and unsupported promise of the possibility of 'reduced crime,' this injunction criminalizes a wide range of otherwise legal and constitutionally protected activity, for literally hundreds of people, without any judicial determination that these individuals are, in fact, members of a 'gang,' or that they have committed any crime."
David Reymann, an attorney cooperating with the ACLU in the appeal, agreed.
"Courts have widely recognized that the unjustified deprivation of First Amendment freedoms causes irreparable injury to those whose liberty is infringed," he said.
"This unprecedented and draconian order, which will cause countless arrests and violations of fundamental rights, should not be enforced until the Utah Supreme Court has the opportunity to review its dubious constitutional basis."
The appeal states the injunction is unconstitutional because it is vague and overly broad in terms of the scope of individuals covered and its geographic scope, which includes all of Ogden.
Specific prohibitions on the conduct of individuals in the injunction are also unconstitutional, according to the appeal.
"The order directly and broadly violates these rights, precluding association between hundreds of individuals who may be family members, friends or business associates," the appeal states.
"There is no restriction limiting the order to association connected with actual criminal activity or even nuisance activity. Instead, all association is banned, apparently in perpetuity, profoundly affecting the basic liberties of those against whom the police choose, in their unfettered discretion, to enforce the order."
Smith could not be reached for comment Monday regarding the appeal. However, Lt. Scott Conley, who's in charge of the Ogden Police Department's gang unit, said he isn't surprised by the effort to overturn the injunction.
"We knew it was coming," he said. "It was an expectation. We are not the first state to do this."
Similar anti-gang injunctions have been upheld by high courts in Texas, Illinois and California, he said.
As of Monday, Ogden police had served 39 suspected Treces with the injunction but had not made any arrests.
Officers have not been well received by some Treces, who have tried to turn away while being served with the order and have torn up copies of the document in front of police, Conley said.
The injunction isn't meant to harass or profile the estimated 485 Treces in Ogden but is just another tool to make the city safer, Conley said.
"It's no more restrictive than a protective order or any other civil order."