Vanguard Commentary: No Injunction Needed in West Sacramento

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ganginjunction_cat.jpgEvidence At Trial Shows Neither a Clear Criminal Street Gang nor a Nuisance in West Sacramento –

At the core of the Yolo County judicial problem is the gang case.  Time after time, I see these young, relatively innocent, sometimes even harmless looking kids being accused of being gang members and committing some other crime.

As I sit there in the courtroom I cannot help but believe that we as a society have failed these kids, allowing them to get this to point.  The term gang and gang member inspires fear more than compassion.  It conjures visions of hardened criminal street gang members brazenly shooting and killing helpless and innocent victims.

But you can count on your hands the number of murders in Yolo County each year and you can count on one hand the number of gang murders in Yolo County over even the last decade.

The reality is that the image of gang member is not what you see when you walk into a Yolo County courtroom most of the time.  Instead you see young kids, being charged under the most draconian set of laws that the state have created, and charged as though they were the Bloods and Crips of South Central Los Angeles or the masterminds of the Mexican Mafia and Nuestra Familia themselves.

Everyone told me that Judge Kathleen White would rule to impose the permanent gang injunction (in this case permanent is only seven years).  She had imposed the preliminary injunction.  There was no reason to believe otherwise.

However, still I had hope that the case that the defense was presenting was overwhelming enough to overrule that original judgment.  I was wrong.

Last week I presented Judge White’s ruling and then I ran an article on Defense Attorney Mark Merin’s take.  I have run countless articles on the gang injunction trial, but this is my take on how I saw the evidence presented over months of time, sometimes in painfully methodical ways.

Before I get into a deeper analysis, I will say I agree with two key points that Mark Merin raised.  First, I was stunned with how little legal or frankly non-legal analysis there was in Judge White’s opinion.  I suspect that is somewhat strategic, in that it gives the defense less to sink their teeth into on appeal.

Second, the more I think about it, the 92 names is troubling.  The defense had argued that if those 92 were going to be enjoined by this decision, they ought to be afforded representation.  They were not.  And so while the case itself is not binding on those 92 individuals, you can bet the authorities in West Sacramento will take the steps necessary to cover them under the injunction.

And that is the heart of the problem we face here.  In the end, it is the idea that someone can have his or her liberty taken away without the due process of law.  Yes, the West Sacramento police have an extensive system set up for gang validation that moves up the police ranks.  In the end, it is still a police officer making a decision without the individual involved having a real chance for redress, a chance for a hearing, or afforded counsel.

In my opinion, at its core, a gang injunction is a violation of the right to due process under the law and the notion that one is innocent until proved guilty.  Aside from the named defendants in this case, every other person subject to the gang injunction will have to prove his or her innocence.  The law allows this, this is a decision well above Yolo County and Judge White, but to me at their core, gang injunctions are unconstitutional.

This case comes down to whether there is a criminal street gang called the Broderick Boys in West Sacramento, whether the defendants are members of that gang and whether the criminal street gang presents an ongoing nuisance to West Sacramento.

Judge White ruled that there is a Broderick Boys that “exists and operates within the Safety Zone.”  She wrote, “The Broderick Boys is an unincorporated association, consisting or two or more individuals, joined together by mutual consent for social, recreational and other common purposes, and that it acted and continues to act by and through its members, both individually and collectively.”

She also mentioned that they have a common name, signs and symbols, and its members “individually or collectively engage in a pattern of criminal activity as defined in Penal Code § 186.22(f).”

There are definitely gang members in West Sacramento.  But the evidence provided both at trial and in crime reports does not demonstrate to me that there is some kind of organized criminal street gang operating in West Sacramento.

What I saw were a bunch of assertions made by the police focusing in on a group of individuals with no clear affiliation to one another.  They did have a common sign and name.  They did identify with the Broderick Neighborhood.  Some of these individuals were placed into prison and became affiliated through race and geography with the Norteno gang.

Others were kids who were clearly getting into trouble, into the “gangsta” lifestyle and hip hop culture.  But to me there is no clear line between these sort of wannabes and real gang members.

What I saw presented in trial were a listing of crimes committed by individuals who might identify themselves with the Norteno Gang.  However, we ran an analysis on those charged and convicted under Penal Code 186.22 and the number was extremely low.  We are talking about a handful of convictions each year for actual gang crimes.

As Mark Merin put it, “”All they proved were that there were crimes committed over the course of ten years in this community.”

There were only a small handful of incidents that you could objectively look at and say this was a gang crime.

So is there a gang in West Sacramento?  I do not know.  I don’t think that the plaintiffs in this case, the DA’s Office, proved that there was.  I think they were able to show a lot of people who they could easily label gang members and they inferred a gang from that data.  But other data contradicts that notion.

I am going to skip the second question, whether defendants are members of the alleged gang, because it would take too long and I lack the data for discussion, and will move instead to the nuisance issue.

The Vanguard obtained through a public records request a listing of all criminal gang charges, per section 186.22 of the California Penal code, from 2005 until the time of the request, March of 2010.

As we have mentioned in the past, there are two critical provisions in that penal code.  Part A prohibits, “Any person who actively participates in any criminal street gang with knowledge that its members engage in or have engaged in a pattern of criminal gang activity, and who willfully promotes, furthers, or assists in any felonious criminal conduct by members of that gang.”

Part B section 1, “Any person who is convicted of a felony committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with any criminal street gang, with the specific intent to promote, further, or assist in any criminal conduct by gang members, shall, upon conviction of that felony, in addition and consecutive to the punishment prescribed for the felony or attempted felony of which he or she has been convicted, be punished.”

Section 186.22(B)(1) is thus an “enhancement” which is tacked on top of a crime that they committed, whereas 186.22(A) is a stand-alone crime, punishable by up to three years in state prison.

From 2005 until March 2010, there have been a total of 98 individuals charged with gang enhancements, either 186.22(A) or 186.22(B)(1).  That comes out to less than twenty gang cases in a year from West Sacramento.  Of those 98 defendants, 75 were convicted of some crime.  But only 35 were convicted of a gang crime, either 186.22(A) or 186.22(B)(1).  That works out to less than seven individuals a year over a five-year period being convicted of gang crimes.

We know from the testimony of several in this case, as well as in other cases, that there were times when the DA’s Office offered a “No State Prison Term” plea agreement in which they would admit gang membership in exchange for not having to serve prison time.

But even taken on face value, these numbers do not show a huge threat from a criminal street gang.

Deputy DA Ryan Couzens cited legal precedent that shows that the plaintiffs do not need to show actual gang crimes in order to prove the need for an injunction.  According to him, all that is necessary is to show a host of any crime committed by an individual who is a known gang member.

To me this is part of the problem and part of the legal landscape that has failed to differentiate between a hard core gang member and someone who is committing crimes that have nothing to do with criminal street gangs.

We need to address a couple of additional points here.

Judge White argued, “There is no adequate remedy at law in that criminal prosecution has not stopped the nuisance created by the defendants’ activities. Without the injunction, defendants, and each of them, will continue to maintain the nuisance by participating in and encouraging their criminal and nuisance activities, irreparably harming the community and the individuals who live and work in the Safety Zone.”

This is a key point and it is here that I think the judge is wrong.  There is a reason we have a penal code and that these crimes are punishable under that penal code.  If someone commits a crime, put them in prison for the appropriate length of time.

I fail to see how the penal code and prison time are not adequate remedies.

She seemed to be arguing that crime will continue even after an individual is incarcerated, and that is correct.  We will not stop crime by imprisoning one individual.  It does not matter if there is a gang or not, that will not happen.  But we do not create a murder injunction because someone else will commit murder after the first murderer is caught.

The question, though, is why would a civil injunction make a difference in stopping this supposed pattern of criminal activity, when the full force of the California Penal Code and the prosecution of individuals for a variety of felonies has not.

Mark Merin agreed with this problem.  He told the Vanguard, “The injunction has no force and effect in preventing crime.  What it does is interfere with people’s ability to associate.  It chills the freedom that they feel in being in their own neighborhood.”

“It imposes some weird and irrelevant – as far as the criminal mind is concerned – restrictions on where people can go, what people can do, and when they can do it,” he added, “But, as far as actually preventing crime or anything of that sort, I can’t see that it has any effect whatsoever.”

Finally we get down to a key problem, as Judge White early on admonished the plaintiffs that she would be very disappointed if they did not find individuals living in the community would testify that they felt there was a nuisance.

In her decision she wrote, “Defendants, and each of them, collectively, individually and in concert, through their criminal conduct, have created an atmosphere that is injurious to the health of those who work and live in the Safety Zone.”

But did they?  The plaintiffs did bring forth civilian victims of two incidents to establish their point and address the judge’s concerns.

She wrote, “The court found the testimony of the victims of and percipient witnesses to the crimes described during the trial particularly credible and compelling, notably the testimony of James Hopkins III, Reece Hopkins and their father, James Hopkins, Jr., and also James Kephmi, Jacob Keating and Su Matsumoto.”

The case of the Memorial Park incident is instructive.  This is a case where James and Reece Hopkins were badly beaten by members of the Broderick Boys “gang.”

But what appears to have happened on the stand is something a little different.

What had been portrayed by both the DA and the media as a pair of innocent brothers who went to the park to play basketball, and instead were brutally attacked by the Broderick Boys gang, emerged in a very different light after a of day of 17-year-old victim James Hopkins both testifying and being placed under an intense cross-examination in the Gang Injunction case by defense attorney David Dratman.

In fact, I found him not so credible on the stand, as his testimony differed wildly from what he told police.  In essence, he admitted to having arranged what he thought was going to be a one-on-one fight between his brother and a guy named Abel Morales. 

However, when Chris Castillo, an adult, showed up instead of Abel Morales, Mr. Hopkins fought him himself.  It began as a one-on-one fight but quickly other cars arrived on the scene and a large group of people rushed him.

In letters to the judge, he had acknowledged that they had gone to Memorial Park in order to fight.  He admitted they had not gone to the park to play basketball as they had originally told police.  At first, he said on the stand, “To me it was just kids fighting, it would be over,” he said, “We didn’t want to fight.”

Under cross-examination, he acknowledged that the story he had told Officer Kinney was untrue.  He did this not by saying he had told the Officer a bunch of falsehoods that day, but simply by denying the information that Officer Kinney had testified to.

Regardless of the truth in this case, based on Mr. Hopkin’s testimony, he and his brother were not simply innocent victims who had come to the park to play basketball.  They came looking for a fight.

When Mr. Hopkins’ father, James Hopkins, Jr. testified he said until this incident he was unaware that there was even a gang in West Sacramento.  Now to me that demonstrates how limited the impact of this gang really is.

One of the core incidents involves a kid looking for trouble and finding it.  But that is not proof of the nuisance of the gang, that is simply a matter of kids getting out of control with their behavior – gang members and non-gang members alike.

At the end of the trial, what I saw was a litany of criminal events but no clear orchestration or organization to them.  I did not see a number of events that benefited the criminal street gang.  What I saw were a lot of random crimes committed by people who happened to have tattoos and wear colors, and I am just not convinced that this is not a bunch of kids listening to rap videos pretending to be thugs as they commit a bunch of petty and a few not so petty crimes.

How this will impact the community and whether this will get overturned on appeal, we will find out.  As Mr. Merin put it, “We didn’t spend five months in trial on this making a record in order to listen to what the judge had to say in her [opinion] – and take that as the final word.  Everyone knows this case is going on appeal.”

Mark Merin remains confident they will prevail in the appellate courts.

“This is a case where they have pushed the law beyond its limit,” he said.  “You can’t have a civil injunction of a public nuisance that doesn’t exist.  So I think it falls of its own weight.  It doesn’t get out of the starting gate, frankly.”

An appellate court had previously allowed the preliminary injunction to remain in place, finding sufficient evidence, except in two limited circumstances, to show a reasonable likelihood for success, provided the claims of the DA’s Office were proved out in court.

Mark Merin argues that this did not happen.

“What the court said in the preliminary injunction is that if the stuff gets proved out then you’ve made a case,” he said.  “The stuff didn’t get proved.”

“All they proved were that there were crimes committed over the course of ten years in this community,” Mr. Merin said.

“They didn’t say there were more crimes than in other communities.  They didn’t show that the people that they alleged to be Broderick Boys even still live in the community,” he added.  “Most of them that they identified are in custody.”

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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13 thoughts on “Vanguard Commentary: No Injunction Needed in West Sacramento”

  1. E Roberts Musser

    dmg: “Second, the more I think about it, the 92 names is troubling. The defense had argued that if those 92 were going to be enjoined by this decision, they ought to be afforded representation. They were not. And so while the case itself is not binding on those 92 individuals, you can bet the authorities in West Sacramento will take the steps necessary to cover them under the injunction.”

    It is my understanding that 17 named individuals are the ones directly effected by the gang injunction. So I am not following how these other 92 named individuals fit into the picture. Please explain.

    dmg: “The law allows this, this is a decision well above Yolo County and Judge White, but to me at their core, gang injunctions are unconstitutional.”

    Have all gang injunctions been ruled unconstitutional? Not that I know of. So I assume you are substituting your opinion for those of the courts?

    dmg: “There are definitely gang members in West Sacramento. But the evidence provided both at trial and in crimes reports does not demonstrate to me that there is some kind of organized criminal street gang operating in West Sacramento… Others were kids who were clearly getting into trouble, into the “gangsta” lifestyle and hip hop culture. But to me there is no clear line between these sort of wannabes and real gang members… There were only a small handful of incidents that you could objectively look at and say this was a gang crime.”

    I’m not sure this is a distinction w/o a difference… you concede there is a gang operating in West Sacramento and getting into trouble, committing crimes…

    dmg: “So is there a gang in West Sacramento? I do not know.”

    Huh? You have just now contradicted your prior statements…

    dmg: “From 2005 until March 2010, there have been a total of 98 individuals charged with gang enhancements, either 186.22(A) or 186.22(B)(1)….That works out to less than seven individuals a year over a five year period being convicted of a gang crimes.”

    But how many per year IN REALITY? Have there been more crimes charged recently, indicating a possible uptick in crime? This would be good to know… we need that frame of reference…

    dmg: “The question, though, is why would a civil injunction make a difference in stopping this supposed pattern of criminal activity, when the full force of the California Penal Code and the prosecution of individuals for a variety of felonies has not.”

    Bc the injuction restricts the movements of those under its enforcement, so it is more difficult for them to commit crimes in concert w each other. I assume you are arguing that gang injunctions should never be imposed under any circumstances? If yes, that is rather a broad brush, don’t you think?

  2. E Roberts Musser

    dmg: “What I saw were a lot of random crimes committed by people who happened to have tattoos and wear colors, and I am just not convinced that this is not a bunch of kids listening to rap videos pretending to be thugs as they commit a bunch of petty and a few not so petty crimes.”

    Kids “pretending to be thugs”, committing “a bunch of petty and a few not so petty crimes”? Just harmless kids? Again, you seem to be contradicting your premise these kids are somehow not a threat to the neighborhood…

    dmg: “One of the core incidents involves a kid looking for trouble and finding it. But that is not proof of the nuisance of the gang, that is simply a matter of kids getting out of control with their behavior – gang members and non-gang members alike.”

    When gang members come to the aid of their buddies, that in my mind is gang activity – and I think the judge also saw it that way…

    dmg: “She writes, “The court found the testimony of the victims of and percipient witnesses to the crimes described during the trial particularly credible and compelling, notably the testimony of James Hopkins III, Reece Hopkins and their father, James Hopkins, Jr., and also James Kephmi, Jacob Keating and Su Matsumoto.””

    You site one case, Hopkins, as questionable gang activity. What about the others? Wasn’t one of the cases the train conductor that was beaten? Did that case fit into the picture drawn by the prosecution? Or was that technically outside of the West Sac area in question, so was not admissable in this case?

    dmg: “An appellate court had previously allowed the preliminary injunction to remain in place, finding sufficient evidence, except in two limited circumstances, to show a reasonable likelihood for success provided the claims of the DA’s Office were proved out in court.”

    So I assume what Merin is arguing is that the appellate court will find the judge’s opinion, that the DA did prove the case, was erroneous? The judge abused her discretion in making such a finding? Or am I missing something here?

    I honestly have no opinion one way or the other in regard to the gang injunction, bc I was not in the courtroom. Rumors of police violence in West Sacramento have been repeated to me from numerous sources. But West Sacramento does seem to have its share of gang problems. Is it enough to warrent a gang injunction? I’m just not sure, bc I don’t live there, have not witnessed what goes on myself. I did participate in a legal clinic in West Sacramento – and there was a murder right down the street a couple of months before the clinic folded up shop.

    What I do know is the gang injunction is currently in place. So it behooves the citizens of West Sacramento to civicly engage in their community, to pull together for the greater good, to give youth the programs and assistance they need to keep out of trouble. That would be the best outcome of all, the injunction notwithstanding. I know there are community members doing just that, working hard to make a difference. I applaud their efforts, and I continue at the county level to support them in those positive exercises behind the scenes.

  3. Roger Rabbit

    It is so easy for people who are not Mexican living in that area to defend this [u][i][b][i]legalized racism[/i][/b][/i][/u]. Even the cops that use this injunction say it is BS in their inner circles. It would be like passing a law that most people that smoke drugs also smoke cigarettes. Which is a pretty true statistic. So lets pass a law or injunction that allows cops to stop and “investigate” possible drug use for anyone they see smoking. Can you imagine the outrage in this? Judging all smokers as possible drug users just because you can prove some stats.

    Yet the same people that would not like this are OK with this injunction that basically states [b]if you are Mexican in this so called “safety zone” then the cops can contact, detain and investigate possible gang activity.[/b] That is a blank check to contact Mexicans.

    Why not make a law that 99% of all drugs are transported by cars, therefore cops should be able to stop any car since it is a known stat that most all drugs are transported by cars so cops need to be able to stop all cars to make sure they are not transporting drugs.

    Reisig appears to be a Racist and has no respect the Mexican community and sees them as either illegals or gang members and his prosecution style and policy states this pretty clearly. This injunction is a nice way of getting extra grant money, extra cops, extra felony trials, extra DA’s, extra DA investigators and many other benefits, all at the expense of the Mexican community.

    [b]The label “safety zone” is a joke,[/b] if it is so bad that it needs a gang injunction why not call it a [u][b]”Danger Zone, Know High Crime and High Gang Activity Area”?[/b][/u] Oh if we call it that then many of the honest people that live there might not like that and maybe the Police Dept would not like to advertise that they suck and can’t control crime without all this help from the DA’s injunction or maybe the elective officials could not run on what a good job they do when the cite has a bad name like that. So what does Mr. Reisig do, he cuts back door deals and they all agree to a [b]feel good nice name like “Safety Zone”, what a Joke [/b]and the sheep just run around feeling good that they have such a good DA, good PD and good elected officials.

  4. JustSaying

    David, can you make the judge’s finding available to your readers?

    [quote]“…the more I think about it, the 92 names is troubling…. And so while the case itself is not binding on those 92 individuals, you can bet the authorities in West Sacramento will take the steps necessary to cover them under the injunction.”[/quote]What does this mean? Why is the 92 number troubling if the case is “not binding” on them? Since it isn’t binding, what process do you expect the authorities to undertake to make it binding on the 92? The is a confusing summary, at best.

    [quote]“And that is the heart of the problem we face here. In the end, it is the idea that someone can have his or her liberty taken away without the due process of law.”[/quote]And just how do you claim this will be carried out? Please be specific about what due process will be ignored here in taking away one’s liberty.

    [quote]“The term gang and gang member inspires fear more than compassion. It conjures visions of hardened criminal street gang members brazenly shooting and killing helpless and innocent victims.”[/quote]I can see why you protest if this extreme picture really is the limited way you define a gang.

    It’s sad when kids start hanging out in groups that engage in bullying and mischievous behavior. It’s discouraging when some advance to fighting, burglary and other crimes. It’s tragic when some advance to drug dealing, armed robbery and “brazenly shooting and killing helpless and innocent victims.”

    Communities need to deal with the damaging, antisocial actions of all types of gangs whether they’re of the minor nuisance variety or the violent type that terrorizes neighborhoods and engages in criminal enterprises.

    [quote]“Time after time, I see these young, relatively innocent, sometimes even harmless looking kids being accused of being gang members and committing some other crime. As I sit there in the courtroom I cannot help but believe that we as a society have failed these kids, allowing them to get this to point.”[/quote]Let me suggest that this is your real problem.

    Take a look around San Francisco or Portland or any other big-city streets at all the lost souls–from the pre-teens to the seniors, each one some mother’s child. Of course, we’ve failed them.

  5. Roger Rabbit

    Anyone who has taken statics in college know that you can make stats say or show what you want, polls, averages, norms, numbers, changing one word in one stat, if 30 percent of Mexicans in West Sac commit all the crime, then the other stat is 70 percent of the Mexicans commit no crimes in West Sac. In Oakland, in parts that are mostly populated with Blacks, guess what, most crimes are committed by blacks. In Rio Linda, which mostly populated with whites, guess what, most crime is committed by whites.

    It the ACLU did some stats they could probably find that the DA prosecutes mainly Hispanics and less whites and less blacks, then if you added the percentage of racial breakdowns then the percentages would change. If Cops could only stop and contact the same percentage of people according to the population of the city, then the stats would change. [b]I assure you if you listen to the West Sac police scanner you will hear the same type of names of people run and they are mostly Rodriguez, Hernandez, Silva, Mendoza,[/b] is that because those are the only ones they are contacting, or they are the only ones that are getting run for checks, or are they not running white people for warrants, or are they only stopping Mexicans and not whites….[b]Oh wait, I forgot, they have to contact more Mexicans to show they are enforcing the Gang Injunction and to justify their gang unit and gang detectives, so another factor that changes the stats.[/b] And since the Safety Zone is mainly Mexican Gangs, there really is no reason to contact White people since they are not the bad gang members in West Sac.

    Critical thinking and asking for more than just fancy numbers and stats tells the real story. [u][b]Which is why Judge White’s decision is so disappointing [/b][/u]that she could be pulled into “team player” role or fancy double talk by the DA.

    Some will say the DA is really good to fool the judge and so many, others will say the Judge is not that smart since she would fall for the DA’s tricks, while the company line in the county to show a united front, will be they are [b]both much smarter than everyone else and did the right thing, so they are both right and smarter.[/b] [u]After all, if they get it wrong what’s the harm, a few hundred Mexican kids gets stopped, searched, patted down, forced to sit on the curb, being detained, being questioned on who they are hanging with, questioned on what color of clothes they wear, be forced to explain what every tattoo really means, why are they in the “Safety Zone”, where do they live, who lives with them, do they know any gang members and maybe 20 or 30 other questions, all why they are handcuffed, sitting on the curb, with spot lights in their face, after all if they are not doing anything wrong, why would they mind talking to the friendly police that are there to help them?[/u]

    [b]Glad I am not a Mexican living in the “Safe Zone” where I would never feel “SAFE”.[/b]

  6. David M. Greenwald

    “It is my understanding that 17 named individuals are the ones directly effected by the gang injunction. So I am not following how these other 92 named individuals fit into the picture. Please explain.”

    This is what Mark Merin was explaining last week, in addition to the 17 named defendants, Judge White ruled “During trial, the court allowed plaintiff to present certain out-of-court statements of alleged Broderick Boys members. The court permitted these statements on the condition that plaintiff prove by the close of its case that the declarants were members of the Broderick Boys and that the statements were, therefore, admissions by party-declarants under Evidence Code § 1220. For the limited purpose of admitting statements in this trial under Evidence Code § 1220, plaintiff has proved, by clear and convincing evidence, that the following persons were, at the relevant times, Broderick Boys. Therefore, the court admits statements, if any, by the following persons:”

    She then goes on to list 92 individuals.

    Now I could not get a clear answer from West Sacramento PD, but the best answer I could get is that the PD is not going to go around and serve mass individuals with the gang injunction, instead they would serve them as deemed appropriate based on regular day-to-day contacts with them.

    That is my best explanation.

  7. David M. Greenwald

    Elaine:

    “Have all gang injunctions been ruled unconstitutional? Not that I know of. So I assume you are substituting your opinion for those of the courts?”

    I had stated: “The law allows this, this is a decision well above Yolo County and Judge White, but to me at their core, gang injunctions are unconstitutional.”

    Note the phrase, “but to me” that means that is my opinion.

    “I’m not sure this is a distinction w/o a difference… you concede there is a gang operating in West Sacramento and getting into trouble, committing crimes…”

    I do not. I stated that there were individuals, some who have gang affiliations committing crimes. Very few commit crimes that are even charged under the penal code of 186.22, which would constitute a gang crime.

    “Huh? You have just now contradicted your prior statements…”

    Only if you don’t read them very carefully.

    “But how many per year IN REALITY? Have there been more crimes charged recently, indicating a possible uptick in crime? This would be good to know… we need that frame of reference…”

    I don’t understand your first question. There is no uptick – Crime is on the decline.

    “Bc the injuction restricts the movements of those under its enforcement, so it is more difficult for them to commit crimes in concert w each other. I assume you are arguing that gang injunctions should never be imposed under any circumstances? If yes, that is rather a broad brush, don’t you think?”

    I believe that we have a penal code for a reason and that people have the right to due process under the law and are innocent until and unless a jury proves them guilty or they admit to guilt in a plea agreement. Beyond that, I think we need to work on gang problems from non-law enforcement angles.

  8. David M. Greenwald

    Elaine:

    “Just harmless kids? Again, you seem to be contradicting your premise these kids are somehow not a threat to the neighborhood…”

    I don’t think they are harmless, but that’s why we have the penal code. I don’t see the need for anything over and above that.

    “When gang members come to the aid of their buddies, that in my mind is gang activity – and I think the judge also saw it that way…”

    But kids do that whether or not they are in a gang.

    “You site one case, Hopkins, as questionable gang activity. What about the others? Wasn’t one of the cases the train conductor that was beaten? Did that case fit into the picture drawn by the prosecution? Or was that technically outside of the West Sac area in question, so was not admissible in this case?”

    No they brought that one in. But I think you are talking about two or three total cases in a ten year period that you might be able to really label as gang incidents.

    “So I assume what Merin is arguing is that the appellate court will find the judge’s opinion, that the DA did prove the case, was erroneous? The judge abused her discretion in making such a finding? Or am I missing something here?”

    I believe so.

  9. David M. Greenwald

    Just Saying:

    “What does this mean? Why is the 92 number troubling if the case is “not binding” on them? Since it isn’t binding, what process do you expect the authorities to undertake to make it binding on the 92? The is a confusing summary, at best.”

    As I tried to explain, I presume that the authorities will use this as a reason to serve the individuals with the injunction after the fact. Now I talked to West Sac and it seems like that will not happen – at least at the outset. I was told they have no current plans to serve people outside of their current course of duty.

    “And just how do you claim this will be carried out? Please be specific about what due process will be ignored here in taking away one’s liberty.”

    Sure, if you are served with the injunction, you can fight it of course, but you are not afforded an attorney since it is not a criminal matter and you have to show that you are not a gang member, which is tantamount to proving yourself innocent.

    “Communities need to deal with the damaging, antisocial actions of all types of gangs whether they’re of the minor nuisance variety or the violent type that terrorizes neighborhoods and engages in criminal enterprises.”

    I don’t disagree. The question is how.

    “Take a look around San Francisco or Portland or any other big-city streets at all the lost souls–from the pre-teens to the seniors, each one some mother’s child. Of course, we’ve failed them.”

    I agree here as well. What I don’t see is how this helps them.

  10. Mr Obvious

    DMG, I could sit here and point out what is wrong with MR Rabbits posts but I need to go to work. Since I’m one of the few that will point out his nonsense I thought it would be good to have it come from a member of the other side.

    Would you please take a minute to let Mr Rabbit know he is over the top here.

  11. E Roberts Musser

    dmg: “Now I could not get a clear answer from West Sacramento PD, but the best answer I could get is that the PD is not going to go around and serve mass individuals with the gang injunction, instead they would serve them as deemed appropriate based on regular day-to-day contacts with them”

    Thanks for the clarification… which means the troubling concern is discretion is left up to the West Sac PD as to whether the injunction has wider implications than perhaps was intended…

    erm: “Wasn’t one of the cases the train conductor that was beaten? Did that case fit into the picture drawn by the prosecution? Or was that technically outside of the West Sac area in question, so was not admissible in this case?”

    dmg: “No they brought that one in. But I think you are talking about two or three total cases in a ten year period that you might be able to really label as gang incidents.”

    And I would argue that is probably the case that very well may have been the lynchpin in tipping the scales towards an injunction. It was a highly publicized case, endangers the safe running of the railroads, etc.

  12. E Roberts Musser

    dmg: “I believe that we have a penal code for a reason and that people have the right to due process under the law and are innocent until and unless a jury proves them guilty or they admit to guilt in a plea agreement. Beyond that, I think we need to work on gang problems from non-law enforcement angles.”

    This says a lot. You are against gang injunctions period. However, the DA is allowed under current law to go after a gang injunction if he so chooses. Going after a gang injunction is his right. He just has to prove his case. Whether he did so in this case – I don’t know. But certainly in gang infested areas of LA, I would say gang injunctions would be preferable to SWAT teams coming in… just food for thought…

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