Judge allows opposition to Santa Ana gang injunction to proceed

BY SEAN EMERY and ALEJANDRA MOLINA / Orange County Register
Published: Nov. 20, 2014 Updated: 1:48 p.m.

orange county gang injunctionSANTA ANA – A group of 14 accused members of the Townsend Street gang will get their day in court after an Orange County Superior Court judge on Wednesday gave them time to muster a case for why they shouldn’t be included in a controversial gang injunction.

Orange County Superiour Court Judge Franz E. Miller announced that hearings will be held in early January to decide who should or shouldn’t be included in the injunction – a civil order that curtails rights of those found to have taken part in gang activity.

Still left unanswered: whether the individuals will be able to challenge the foundation of the much-debated injunction, or only their own inclusion in it.

Meanwhile, Miller denied a request by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office to immediately begin enforcing terms of the gang injunction against those fighting it. Prosecutors claimed that crime in the Townsend Street area has continued to fester, and that the ongoing court battle is hindering efforts to police the neighborhood.

“There is still an intolerable level of nuisance and criminal activity in the area,” Deputy District Attorney Susan Eckermann said. “Dragging the process out does a disservice to the community.”

Some residents – more than two dozen of whom attended Wednesday’s hearing at the Santa Ana courthouse – dispute the level of violence described by authorities.

Local law enforcement say gang injunctions – limiting actions of identified gang members in specified areas where authorities have documented an increase in crime – have contributed to drops in street crimes.

The latest Santa Ana injunction is the second in the city and the 13th in the county. If fully approved, the injunction would ultimately name 25 people, including six juveniles.

But some say they don’t belong on the list, because they’re not involved in criminal activity.

Read more here: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/injunction-642802-gang-community.html

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