Witnesses identified for injunction trial
By Jessica Keating, jkeating@ VenturaCountyStar.com
January 25, 2005
Those challenging an Oxnard gang injunction have identified hundreds of potential witnesses for a trial set to begin by the end of February.
Chief Deputy Public Defender Neil Quinn, representing two of the people challenging the injunction, submitted a list of about 250 names at a hearing Monday after one of his clients waived his Fifth Amendment right to not testify against himself. By doing so, Gabriel Acosta, an alleged gang member, will be allowed to present evidence and could be called to testify.
Deputy District Attorney Karen Wold, leading the injunction effort, said the public defender’s list of witnesses could dictate the length of the trial. She said she is prepared to increase her own witnesses list if such a move is warranted by the evidence presented by challengers.
As it stood Monday, the trial was expected to begin by Feb. 25. Judge Frederick Bysshe, who approved a temporary injunction against the Colonia Chiques gang in June, will review the evidence in the case and determine whether to make it permanent.
The temporary injunction covers a 6.6-square-mile area in Oxnard called a “safety zone.” The injunction prohibits about 60 people served with the injunction from staying out after 10 p.m., associating with known gang members and other related activities.
Prosecutors seeking a permanent injunction say it is needed to protect a neighborhood plagued by gang activity. Opponents argue the court order is too broad and infringes on civil liberties.
Outside court Monday, Quinn said he did not plan to call Acosta to the stand during the trial, nor would he call hundreds of witnesses to testify. Quinn said he hoped the court would accept declarations from the witnesses — the list includes teachers and residents — to save time but provide Bysshe with the “whole picture.”