Utah Supreme Court to reconsider Ogden gang injunctions

Posted at 5:11 PM, Nov 20, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-20 19:48:18-05

OGDEN -- The Utah Supreme Court is likely to reconsider a controversial series of restraining orders against members of one gang, prohibiting them from associating with each other within most of city limits.

Lawyers for the alleged gang members said the court was expected to review the case now that the restraining orders have been made permanent. News of the state's top court reconsidering the case came during a hearing involving one of the alleged gang members on Tuesday.

Lawyers have asked the Utah Supreme Court for its own injunction, halting Ogden police from enforcing its injunctions.

Michael Studebaker, who represents Alejandro Alejandre, 22, dropped a request to have Ogden police prove his client is a gang member. Police officers showed up to court with documentation that they said proved he is a member of the gang.

"We knew what the court would have ruled based on the evidence in prior rulings, so it wasn't worth holding a hearing on it," Studebaker said.

Alejandre is one of more than 400 people subject to the Ogden Metro Gang Unit's gang injunctions, which prohibits alleged gang members from associating with each other in public and sets a curfew. Violations include contempt of court citations and an indeterminate amount of jail time.

So far, only three people have successfully persuaded a court to release them from the confines of the restraining order. Opting out of the injunction comes with terms.

"The person hasn't been involved in any gang-related crimes within the last three years, hasn't gotten any new gang-related tattoos within the last three years," said deputy Weber County Attorney Chris Allred.

Lawyers for the alleged gang members are hopeful the Utah Supreme Court will step in and overturn the injunction -- or at least temporarily halt it. This particular gang has claimed most of the city as its turf, so the terms of the restraining orders apply to that.

"The gang injunction boundaries are really set by the gang," Allred said. "We went and tracked down where the gang activity was occurring, simply drew a line around that. It, incidentally, is not the entire city of Ogden. But it is the bulk of Ogden."

Studebaker insists it is overly broad.

"Twenty five square miles!" he exclaimed to FOX 13 outside of court. "That's pretty overbroad."