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Gang Injunction Still Stuck in Juvenile Court

Judge Expresses Mild Frustration with Slow-Moving Process


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The city’s proposed gang injunction remains stalled as both sides wait for a court ruling on whether juvenile information may be released and used to boost the city’s argument in favor of the legal filing.

Attorneys representing the city, DA’s Office, and some of the defendants were in front of Judge Colleen Sterne briefly Monday morning to inform her the matter was still stuck in juvenile court. They are waiting on Judge Thomas Adams to determine whether there is good cause for the records to be released. There is a hearing on that issue slated for mid-month. If Adams finds there is good cause, it is likely individual hearings will follow.

The city’s controversial plan — which names 30 people, along with the Eastside and Westside gangs — would prohibit gang members from wearing certain types of clothing and from associating with other gang members in proposed “safe zones” around the city. They wouldn’t be allowed to have weapons, use drugs or alcohol, or recruit for their gang in these zones. These 30 people have been labeled by police as the city’s “baddest of the bad.”

The city is attempting to use the juvenile information — usually held under seal — to help prove the need for an injunction. Sterne ruled last year that the city could not include the information without permission of the juvenile court. So the city petitioned the juvenile court for records regarding 27 of the 30 named defendants. (Three defendants do not have juvenile records.)

Once that issue is resolved, the matter will likely head to trial in front of Sterne, who will decide whether it is appropriate to label the gangs and gang members a nuisance. In the meantime, Sterne pushed the next hearing in her courtroom to July 8. “I do wish this [was] moving forward a little more rapidly,” she said.

Billy Collins & Aimee Mann

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