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ACLU OF UTAH FILES PETITION SEEKING IMMEDIATE REVIEW OF WEBER COUNTY “GANG INJUNCTION”; REQUESTS COURT ORDER BLOCKING ENFORCEMENT OF INJUNCTION SALT LAKE CITY

04 October 2010 Published in Newsroom

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE        
October 4, 2010    
                                
ACLU OF UTAH FILES PETITION SEEKING IMMEDIATE REVIEW OF WEBER COUNTY “GANG INJUNCTION”; REQUESTS COURT ORDER BLOCKING ENFORCEMENT OF INJUNCTION SALT LAKE CITY

The ACLU of Utah and cooperating attorneys David Reymann and Clemens Landau of the law firm Parr Brown Gee & Loveless, along with co-counsel Michael J. Boyle, today filed petitions with the Supreme Court of the State of Utah seeking immediate appellate review of the “gang injunction” entered last week by Second District Court Judge Ernie W. Jones. The ACLU of Utah also requested that the Supreme Court block Weber County from enforcing the injunction until after the appeal is decided.

The injunction, which was officially entered on September 28, prohibits the Ogden Trece (Trece), and all of its over 475 alleged members, from, among other things, associating with other alleged members of Trece (including family, friends, and co-workers), possessing legal firearms, drinking alcohol (on both public and private property), and engaging in numerous other kinds of constitutionally protected expressive speech and activities.  These prohibitions apply to anyone identified by law enforcement, in its own discretion and with no judicial oversight, to be a member of Trece.  The injunction covers almost the entire City of Ogden.

“Law enforcement certainly has an interest in stopping gang-related crime,” said ACLU of Utah Legal Director Darcy Goddard.   “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.”

“Courts have widely recognized that the unjustified deprivation of First Amendment freedoms causes irreparable injury to those whose liberty is infringed,” said ACLU of Utah cooperating attorney David Reymann.  “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.”

Full copies of the papers filed today by the ACLU of Utah can be found at the website www.acluutah.org/ OgdenTrece.html.

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