Gang Injunction: Crackdown on Gangs or Minorities who can’t fight back?

A recent article that appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on December 26, 2006 (and reprinted in the Davis Enterprise shortly thereafter) brings the issue of the gang injunction back to the public spotlight.

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?

For example:

“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

Author

  • David Greenwald

    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.

Categories:

Court Watch

124 comments

  1. Normally, people are punished for doing something aginst the law. This injunction punishes people for “potentially” breaking the law.

    This is not as bad as the case of the Lodi cherry picker who was given a 30 year sentence for potentially being a terrorist (based on the Bush definition of justice). However, the injunction goes down a path where innocent people’s rights are trampled on.

    Almost certainly, a percentage (I would guess at least 10%-20%) of those people identified as gang members are in fact not gang members. The list was developed by local law enforcement and they make mistakes. They are lucky the DPD was not involved because the error rate would have doubled if they were involved.

    I suppose if you presume that most of the people on the list are low life Hispanics who do not have a political voice then is is ok to make a “few” mistakes. That is were we are and it is wrong!SAH

  2. Normally, people are punished for doing something aginst the law. This injunction punishes people for “potentially” breaking the law.

    This is not as bad as the case of the Lodi cherry picker who was given a 30 year sentence for potentially being a terrorist (based on the Bush definition of justice). However, the injunction goes down a path where innocent people’s rights are trampled on.

    Almost certainly, a percentage (I would guess at least 10%-20%) of those people identified as gang members are in fact not gang members. The list was developed by local law enforcement and they make mistakes. They are lucky the DPD was not involved because the error rate would have doubled if they were involved.

    I suppose if you presume that most of the people on the list are low life Hispanics who do not have a political voice then is is ok to make a “few” mistakes. That is were we are and it is wrong!SAH

  3. Normally, people are punished for doing something aginst the law. This injunction punishes people for “potentially” breaking the law.

    This is not as bad as the case of the Lodi cherry picker who was given a 30 year sentence for potentially being a terrorist (based on the Bush definition of justice). However, the injunction goes down a path where innocent people’s rights are trampled on.

    Almost certainly, a percentage (I would guess at least 10%-20%) of those people identified as gang members are in fact not gang members. The list was developed by local law enforcement and they make mistakes. They are lucky the DPD was not involved because the error rate would have doubled if they were involved.

    I suppose if you presume that most of the people on the list are low life Hispanics who do not have a political voice then is is ok to make a “few” mistakes. That is were we are and it is wrong!SAH

  4. Normally, people are punished for doing something aginst the law. This injunction punishes people for “potentially” breaking the law.

    This is not as bad as the case of the Lodi cherry picker who was given a 30 year sentence for potentially being a terrorist (based on the Bush definition of justice). However, the injunction goes down a path where innocent people’s rights are trampled on.

    Almost certainly, a percentage (I would guess at least 10%-20%) of those people identified as gang members are in fact not gang members. The list was developed by local law enforcement and they make mistakes. They are lucky the DPD was not involved because the error rate would have doubled if they were involved.

    I suppose if you presume that most of the people on the list are low life Hispanics who do not have a political voice then is is ok to make a “few” mistakes. That is were we are and it is wrong!SAH

  5. It is quite errie how this parallels the Bush administration’s preemptive war philosophy and trampling of civil rights by the Patriot Act, extraordinary rendition, etc. There does appear to finally be a national public recognition that the our government is going down the wrong path. With the help of People’s Vanguard as a vehicle of information and serious discussion as well as local political action, this tide of fear and hysteria with its authoritarian trappings will also recede in Yolo.

  6. It is quite errie how this parallels the Bush administration’s preemptive war philosophy and trampling of civil rights by the Patriot Act, extraordinary rendition, etc. There does appear to finally be a national public recognition that the our government is going down the wrong path. With the help of People’s Vanguard as a vehicle of information and serious discussion as well as local political action, this tide of fear and hysteria with its authoritarian trappings will also recede in Yolo.

  7. It is quite errie how this parallels the Bush administration’s preemptive war philosophy and trampling of civil rights by the Patriot Act, extraordinary rendition, etc. There does appear to finally be a national public recognition that the our government is going down the wrong path. With the help of People’s Vanguard as a vehicle of information and serious discussion as well as local political action, this tide of fear and hysteria with its authoritarian trappings will also recede in Yolo.

  8. It is quite errie how this parallels the Bush administration’s preemptive war philosophy and trampling of civil rights by the Patriot Act, extraordinary rendition, etc. There does appear to finally be a national public recognition that the our government is going down the wrong path. With the help of People’s Vanguard as a vehicle of information and serious discussion as well as local political action, this tide of fear and hysteria with its authoritarian trappings will also recede in Yolo.

  9. Davisite: I do not think it is a coincidental at all. I think that the city of Davis, the DPD, and the DA’s office all operate with a Bush mentality.

    I hope that information is the tonic for this problem–that people when they are actually exposed to this, will do something. But I have to tell you, all of the information in this article basically comes either from the SF Chronicle article that ran in the Davis Enterprise last week and two SNR articles from Cosmo Garvin. This information has been available to the public since 2005.

    Then again, I knew a little bit about the gang injunction but it hit me on a whole new level when I looked at Thomas Warriner’s ruling. That’s the court decision that makes Reisig claim its legal.

  10. Davisite: I do not think it is a coincidental at all. I think that the city of Davis, the DPD, and the DA’s office all operate with a Bush mentality.

    I hope that information is the tonic for this problem–that people when they are actually exposed to this, will do something. But I have to tell you, all of the information in this article basically comes either from the SF Chronicle article that ran in the Davis Enterprise last week and two SNR articles from Cosmo Garvin. This information has been available to the public since 2005.

    Then again, I knew a little bit about the gang injunction but it hit me on a whole new level when I looked at Thomas Warriner’s ruling. That’s the court decision that makes Reisig claim its legal.

  11. Davisite: I do not think it is a coincidental at all. I think that the city of Davis, the DPD, and the DA’s office all operate with a Bush mentality.

    I hope that information is the tonic for this problem–that people when they are actually exposed to this, will do something. But I have to tell you, all of the information in this article basically comes either from the SF Chronicle article that ran in the Davis Enterprise last week and two SNR articles from Cosmo Garvin. This information has been available to the public since 2005.

    Then again, I knew a little bit about the gang injunction but it hit me on a whole new level when I looked at Thomas Warriner’s ruling. That’s the court decision that makes Reisig claim its legal.

  12. Davisite: I do not think it is a coincidental at all. I think that the city of Davis, the DPD, and the DA’s office all operate with a Bush mentality.

    I hope that information is the tonic for this problem–that people when they are actually exposed to this, will do something. But I have to tell you, all of the information in this article basically comes either from the SF Chronicle article that ran in the Davis Enterprise last week and two SNR articles from Cosmo Garvin. This information has been available to the public since 2005.

    Then again, I knew a little bit about the gang injunction but it hit me on a whole new level when I looked at Thomas Warriner’s ruling. That’s the court decision that makes Reisig claim its legal.

  13. the gang injunction is part of a more profound anxiety in Yolo County, fear of Latinos, and it is addressed by subjecting them to a system of law enforcement different than the one applied to whites

    the Buzayan and Berny case are illustrations that Muslims, as they are present in Yolo County in small numbers, are to be harassed by law enforcement and the DAs Office, so as to discourage others from coming here

    in that respect, the Lodi case is significant, I think it greenlighted the notion in the non-urban sections of the Valley, that Muslims can be targeted for harassment as the general populace with accept it

    sadly, the response of many in Davis has confirmed the accuracy of this notion

    the really odd thing is, DA Pattie Fong publishes a civil rights publication for “Davis Asians for Racial Equality”, and used it as platform for Officer Ly to defend himself

    perhaps, a Monty Pythoneseque name change is order for the organization: Davis Asians for Racial Equality with the Exception of Muslims

    –Richard Estes

  14. the gang injunction is part of a more profound anxiety in Yolo County, fear of Latinos, and it is addressed by subjecting them to a system of law enforcement different than the one applied to whites

    the Buzayan and Berny case are illustrations that Muslims, as they are present in Yolo County in small numbers, are to be harassed by law enforcement and the DAs Office, so as to discourage others from coming here

    in that respect, the Lodi case is significant, I think it greenlighted the notion in the non-urban sections of the Valley, that Muslims can be targeted for harassment as the general populace with accept it

    sadly, the response of many in Davis has confirmed the accuracy of this notion

    the really odd thing is, DA Pattie Fong publishes a civil rights publication for “Davis Asians for Racial Equality”, and used it as platform for Officer Ly to defend himself

    perhaps, a Monty Pythoneseque name change is order for the organization: Davis Asians for Racial Equality with the Exception of Muslims

    –Richard Estes

  15. the gang injunction is part of a more profound anxiety in Yolo County, fear of Latinos, and it is addressed by subjecting them to a system of law enforcement different than the one applied to whites

    the Buzayan and Berny case are illustrations that Muslims, as they are present in Yolo County in small numbers, are to be harassed by law enforcement and the DAs Office, so as to discourage others from coming here

    in that respect, the Lodi case is significant, I think it greenlighted the notion in the non-urban sections of the Valley, that Muslims can be targeted for harassment as the general populace with accept it

    sadly, the response of many in Davis has confirmed the accuracy of this notion

    the really odd thing is, DA Pattie Fong publishes a civil rights publication for “Davis Asians for Racial Equality”, and used it as platform for Officer Ly to defend himself

    perhaps, a Monty Pythoneseque name change is order for the organization: Davis Asians for Racial Equality with the Exception of Muslims

    –Richard Estes

  16. the gang injunction is part of a more profound anxiety in Yolo County, fear of Latinos, and it is addressed by subjecting them to a system of law enforcement different than the one applied to whites

    the Buzayan and Berny case are illustrations that Muslims, as they are present in Yolo County in small numbers, are to be harassed by law enforcement and the DAs Office, so as to discourage others from coming here

    in that respect, the Lodi case is significant, I think it greenlighted the notion in the non-urban sections of the Valley, that Muslims can be targeted for harassment as the general populace with accept it

    sadly, the response of many in Davis has confirmed the accuracy of this notion

    the really odd thing is, DA Pattie Fong publishes a civil rights publication for “Davis Asians for Racial Equality”, and used it as platform for Officer Ly to defend himself

    perhaps, a Monty Pythoneseque name change is order for the organization: Davis Asians for Racial Equality with the Exception of Muslims

    –Richard Estes

  17. Wow! The injunction simply means that two or more REGISTERED criminal gang members cannot come together.

    Do any of you know how these young men and woman join gangs? Do any of you know what it takes to stay in a gang? Do you realize that gangs are created solely for criminal activity?

    Folks, gangs are a scourge on society. Most of you sound as if you have led sheltered lives…good for you. However, I think you would feel differently if you lived in a neighborhood terrorized by a criminal street gang. You would be a champion of these types of injunctions.

  18. Wow! The injunction simply means that two or more REGISTERED criminal gang members cannot come together.

    Do any of you know how these young men and woman join gangs? Do any of you know what it takes to stay in a gang? Do you realize that gangs are created solely for criminal activity?

    Folks, gangs are a scourge on society. Most of you sound as if you have led sheltered lives…good for you. However, I think you would feel differently if you lived in a neighborhood terrorized by a criminal street gang. You would be a champion of these types of injunctions.

  19. Wow! The injunction simply means that two or more REGISTERED criminal gang members cannot come together.

    Do any of you know how these young men and woman join gangs? Do any of you know what it takes to stay in a gang? Do you realize that gangs are created solely for criminal activity?

    Folks, gangs are a scourge on society. Most of you sound as if you have led sheltered lives…good for you. However, I think you would feel differently if you lived in a neighborhood terrorized by a criminal street gang. You would be a champion of these types of injunctions.

  20. Wow! The injunction simply means that two or more REGISTERED criminal gang members cannot come together.

    Do any of you know how these young men and woman join gangs? Do any of you know what it takes to stay in a gang? Do you realize that gangs are created solely for criminal activity?

    Folks, gangs are a scourge on society. Most of you sound as if you have led sheltered lives…good for you. However, I think you would feel differently if you lived in a neighborhood terrorized by a criminal street gang. You would be a champion of these types of injunctions.

  21. First of all, the injunction does more than merely prevent association it establishes a curfew of 10 pm.

    Second, and most importantly, not all of the people who are being labeled as gang members are gang members. I’ve talked to a number who are not gang members, and have never been gang members, but have had their rights violated.

    There is NEVER an excuse to do away with the due process of the law. Never.