It is a tricky issue because proponents believe that these tactics have reduced crime. Jeff Reisig told the San Francisco Chronicle that “It’s absolutely worked… This works, and it’s legal.”
However, this is not just a nation built on positive outcomes but also policy and procedure. The ACLU filed lawsuit, but as I understand the court ruling, they never ruled on the constitutionality of the policy. In fact, it won on a technicality.
If this policy is legal, it is also marginal and troubling.
Perhaps most troubling was the way the injunction was enacted.
“In a move that still angers opponents, prosecutors gave notice of the suit to just one alleged member, and he lived in Rancho Cordova, 15 miles away. Reisig wrote in a court filing that the alleged Norteño, Billy Wolfington, would spread the word to compatriots.
Wolfington didn’t show up in court to contest the injunction, however, and neither did any other alleged members of the gang. With no opposition in attendance, Superior Court Judge Thomas Warriner granted a permanent injunction on Feb. 3, 2005. “
This is the same Thomas Warriner who was the presiding judge in the Halema Buzayan criminal trial. He was a Deukmejian apointee to the bench and a right wing Republican.
Cosmo Garvin in August, 2005 ran an article on injunction. He quotes ACLU attorney Alan Scholesser.
“A lifetime curfew for an adult is an extraordinary punishment. I think if people had their day in court, there would have been some serious legal challenges and some very different outcomes.”
“But Deputy District Attorney Reisig told SN&R that the Broderick Boys have an active communication network, through which the individual who was served notice of the injunction was able to spread word to the rest of the gang.
Reisig added that serving notice on each individual who would be subject to the injunction would have expended “a tremendous amount of resources.”
“The law simply doesn’t require us to do that. The judge even said it was OK,” added Reisig.”
Therein lies the rub–a judge with a notorious reputation for favoring the prosecution has legitimated this process. This is precisely the problem with the criminal justice system in Yolo County.
Is this targeting just gang members? Or are innocent people getting caught up in this legal net?
“In one declaration to the court, Benjamin Juarez said that he had been in trouble with the police as a juvenile but had completed his probation two years ago. Now 24, Juarez has a steady job and has purchased a home with his wife and young son in the “safety zone.”
“Although I complied with all conditions of my juvenile probation, and in fact was released from probation early for ‘good behavior,’” Juarez explained in his statement, “the permanent injunction virtually imposes a lifetime of probation conditions for me.”
Is this guy a dangerous criminal or someone who just got caught up in this system? Then there is the 45-year-old grandfather who has a few tattoos and some very minor convictions from over 30 years ago as a youth.
Warriner’s ruling on the gang injunction is outrageous. This from the SNR’s follow up piece on December 1, 2005.
“All four of the ACLU’s clients in the case claim that they are not members of the Broderick Boys gang. (In fact, many West Sacramento residents say there is no such thing as the Broderick Boys and that local police and prosecutors have exaggerated the existence of the supposed gang.) And all said they received no notice that the gang injunction was being sought in the courts or that they would be subject to its restrictions.
But Judge Warriner ruled that the four had no standing to challenge the law, because they claim they are not gang members. The injunction “binds only defendant Broderick Boys and its members and authorized representatives” wrote Warriner in his ruling.
Furthermore, he ruled, “any person who is charged with criminal contempt for violating the terms of the injunction is entitled to the protection of numerous rights when defending such a charge.”
This ruling makes no sense, since the clients of the ACLU were in fact affected directly by the injunction.
“The judge’s logic exasperated opponents of the injunction. Jory Steele, an attorney with the ACLU, said, “Obviously, we vehemently disagree with the judge’s ruling. Our clients were indeed directly affected by the injunction.” Directly affected because they have been labeled as gang members by police and prosecutors and because–even though they deny gang membership–they nevertheless risk arrest if they are stopped by police after 10 p.m. in West Sacramento or if they are seen in public with anyone else identified as a Broderick Boy.”
So yes, a judge ruled not on the constitutionality of the injunction, but rather that they had no legal standing to challenge it. A ruling that on its face fundamentally makes no sense.
Everyone is against gangs and wants to reduce crimes, but this once again appears to be a fundamental violation of the basic protections of our constitution. And frankly what Judge Warriner has done here is criminal.
—Doug Paul Davis reporting