Commentary: W. Sac Gang Injunction Unfair


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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, April 27, 2007

The sweeping injunction was criticized by law-abiding citizens and even some members of the West Sacramento City council. It barred 350 unnamed gang members from “standing, sitting, walking, driving, gathering or appearing together in a three square mile area. It also imposed a 10 p.m. to dawn curfew. And, you didn’t have to be convicted of a crime to be labeled a Broderick Boy. The court order listed only one individual by name. It assumed that that one gang member would notify the 350 other unnamed “John Does.”

That assumption troubled the appellate court. All three judges agreed that the notice to alleged gang members was so inadequate it violated due process requirements under both state and federal law.

There were other problems. In the tight knit Latino neighborhoods of working class Broderick, the injunction was too vague and all-encompassing. It risked sweeping too many innocent people into its very wide net.

The next time the Yolo County DA goes after street gangs in West Sacramento, he should consult first with local officials and residents to craft a strategy that is effective, legal - and fair.

 

Ginger Rutland writes for The Sacramento Bee opinion pages.