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Utah Supreme Court denies motion to halt Ogden gang injunction

Utah Supreme Court denies motion to halt Ogden gang injunction

By Emiley Morgan | Posted - Nov. 2, 2010 at 12:09 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Supreme Court has denied a petition for emergency relief that would have halted the enforcement of Ogden's controversial gang injunction.

The injunction was entered Sept. 28 by 2nd District Judge Ernie Jones after he declared the 485-member Ogden Trece gang a public nuisance. Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union asked the Supreme Court to review the injunction almost immediately after it went into effect, arguing that it was too broad and violated the constitutional rights of all citizens suspected of being in and associated with the gang.

The Utah Supreme Court heard arguments from attorneys representing both Weber County and individuals accused of being gang members on Oct. 25. Its decision to allow the injunction to remain in place was issued in a short statement by Associate Chief Justice Matthew Durrant that offered no rationale.

"The motion for stay and request for emergency relief are denied," the court order simply states.

The injunction is modeled after similar injunctions already being implemented in California, Weber County Attorney Dee Smith told the five justices on the state's high court.

The injunction prohibits those believed to be involved with a gang from doing anything that police would think was "annoying, harassing or challenging" and imposes a citywide curfew for those believed to be in the gang from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. every night of the week. Known gang members, and those believed to be associated with a gang, are prohibited from possessing or being in the presence of any firearms, drugs or alcohol, or anything that could be used for graffiti.

Smith said Tuesday that he was "pleased" the court did not grant a stay, but clarified that the court's ruling means that the injunction can continue to be enforced for the time being. The larger case against the injunction has yet to be resolved.

"They haven't ruled on the merits (of the case) yet," Smith said. "The case will be heard by the court at some point. We anticipate that and we welcome it."

He said that while the case is still pending, he is confident in the legality of the injunction.

"We've felt all along that we're on solid legal ground," he said. "We spent a lot of time researching this, but reasonable minds can always disagree."

David Reymann, who represented five members of the gang before the Utah Supreme Court, could not be immediately reached Tuesday.

E-mail: emorgan@desnews.com

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