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ACLU will appeal Ogden Trece gang injunction

Published September 12, 2012 2:19 pm

Courts • ACLU asks injunction to be suspended while Utah Supreme Court rules on appeal.
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Almost a month after a judge ruled that an injunction against the Ogden Trece street gang would become permanent action in the city, the American Civil Liberties Union says it will appeal the decision to the Utah Supreme Court, calling the injunction a violation of constitutional rights.

The ACLU, along with cooperating attorneys David Reymann and Randy Richards, filed a notice of appeal in 2nd District Court on Wednesday, along with a motion to suspend the injunction while the appeal is pending.

The injunction, which was granted preliminarily in September 2010 and became permanent on Aug. 20, is intended to curb gang activity in Ogden. Weber County prosecutors call the gang a nuisance, and say the injunction is appropriate.

The injunction 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.

Violating the injunction can lead to fines and jail time. Since it's a civil order, it requires a lower standard of evidence than criminal proceedings.

Reymann wrote in the appeal filed Wednesday that the injunction raises "grave constitutional concerns and permanently curtails the fundamental rights of hundreds of individuals in Ogden."

The injunction is the first of its kind in Utah, and was formulated after similar actions in California.

The Utah Court of Appeals and the Utah Supreme Court both declined to hear the case before the injunction became permanent, ruling that the constitutional issues weren't properly raised at the lower court level.

Because the injunction is now in effect and can be served to anyone on the police gang database, the ACLU has also requested that the district court suspend enforcement until the Utah Supreme Court rules on the matter.

"We are hopeful the district court will recognize the unprecedented nature of this relief and the grave constitutional concerns it raises, and that it will suspend the injunction's enforcement to provide the Utah Supreme Court with a meaningful opportunity to review the order," said ACLU of Utah Legal Director John Mejia in a news release.

If the district court fails to act, Mejia said the ACLU of Utah will ask the Utah Supreme Court to suspend the injunction itself.

jmiller@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jm_miller