October 25, 2006
CrimProf Evan Lee Discusses ACLU's Plan to Stop a Civil Gang Injunction
From examiner.com: University of California Hastings College of Law CrimProf Evan Lee discussed the The American Civil Liberties Union's plan to challenge a civil injunction sought by The City of San Francisco to prevent members of a Bayview street gang from congregating and conducting gang activity in a specified area.
Next Monday, a San Francisco Superior Court judge will hear evidence regarding City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s requested injunction against the Oakdale Mob, which claims as its turf the four square blocks around Oakdale Avenue and Baldwin Court. The gang has been linked to murders, assaults, drug dealing, rapes, carjackings and robberies. Residents of the neighborhood live in fear for their safety and that of their families, police say.
Civil gang injunctions have been used to combat gang presence in neighborhoods in Southern California and elsewhere since the 1980s. In 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Morales v. Chicago, struck down a civil gang injunction in Chicago on the grounds that it was too vague. That injunction prohibited loitering and defined it as, “to remain in any one place with no apparent purpose.”
The injunction sought by Herrera also would prohibit loitering, but it specifies, “loitering with the intent to commit a narcotics-related offense.” However, Herrera’s injunction also includes an order for gang members not to associate publicly, except in church or school, which may be too vague to pass Constitutional muster.
“What the ACLU’s going to argue is that that doesn’t give adequate notice to those people, suppose those associates include their mothers?” CrimProf Lee said Monday. “Suppose one of those mothers goes down to the complex for a PTA meeting, she could get picked up for that order.”
In the end, Lee said, the injunction’s constitutionality will be determined by the limits it places on the discretion of police. The less “carte blanche” police appear to have to make arrests, the less likely the possibility for civil rights to be violated and therefore the more constitutional the injunction will be seen as, Lee said. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
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