Judge frees ex-gang member from injunction
While in prison, Santiago Boney faced a difficult decision: Choose the gang life or choose his family?
He was jumped into the Ogden Trece street gang in 1992, when he was 12 years old. Fast forward six years, and Boney was serving a five-year prison sentence for a gang-related crime. With a girlfriend and a child waiting for him to be released from prison, the now 33-year-old Ogden man said he had a choice to make.
"I wanted out," Boney told a 3rd District judge Tuesday. "I wanted to be a family man. I had to go be with my family or my gang."
There in prison, he was officially jumped out of Ogden Trece, after receiving a beating by several members.
Boney was in court Tuesday attempting to opt out of an injunction served against the large street gang. The injunction, which became permanent action in the city on Monday, prohibits identified gang members from associating with each other in public, possessing weapons or graffiti tools, and sets an 11 p.m. curfew, among other restrictions.
Those who have been served with the injunction can request an opt-out hearing. If the alleged gang member can prove he or she was never in the gang, or has not been associated with the gang for three years, they are able to be released from the injunction's provisions.
Judge Ernie Jones granted Boney's opt-out request after county authorities said they had no issue with granting it.
Weber County deputy attorney Chris Allred detailed the man's history, telling the judge that Boney was once a gang member, but has not committed any gang-related crimes since he was in prison, and has covered up many of his Ogden Trece tattoos.
While Boney does have a current possession of marijuana charge, Allred said that crime was not gang-related.
Allred said authorities were initially concerned with Boney's associations with gang members, which is why he was served the injunction, but added that county authorities have verified that most of those associations are family members.
This was the second opt-out request granted by Jones since the injunction went into effect preliminarily in September 2010. Another man successfully opted out in April, according to court records.
Only two others have requested opt-out hearings, according to court records.
One man claims in a letter submitted to the judge that he was never a member of Ogden Trece, and has no family or meaningful people involved in gang activity. He has yet to receive a hearing.
The mother of a 15-year-old boy who was served the gang injunction apparently intends to ask for an opt-out hearing for her son, according to court records, but a formal request has yet to be filed.
Jones declared the injunction permanent within areas of the city in a ruling handed down Monday. In the written ruling, he agreed with Weber County attorneys that the gang was a public nuisance and said the injunction was "proper under the circumstances."
Defense attorneys for members of the street gang have said the injunction is a violation of their clients' rights.