Class action lawsuit filed over Ogden gang restraining orders

Posted at 4:14 PM, Oct 28, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY — A class action lawsuit has been filed over Ogden’s gang restraining orders.

In a petition filed Tuesday, the ACLU of Utah asked the courts to vacate the convictions of any alleged gang member picked up under Ogden’s controversial restraining orders. The injunctions were declared unconstitutional by the Utah Supreme Court.

“In this case, the Utah Supreme Court has ruled that the district court lacked jurisdiction to issue the Ogden gang injunction.  Since the court was without power to issue that order, no one can be lawfully punished for violating it,” ACLU of Utah Legal Director John Mejia said in a statement to FOX 13.

In an effort to crack down on gangs, the Ogden Police Department served members of the Ogden Trece gang with restraining orders, prohibiting them from associating with each other in public within city limits. It also established curfews and other restrictions.

Ogden police insisted the restraining orders cut crime within the city. The ACLU of Utah estimates at least 50 people were arrested for violating the injunction, which carried with it a six month jail term and a $500 fine.

Alleged members of the gang sued, arguing that the injunctions violated their First Amendment right to free association. The Utah Supreme Court ruled the injunctions were unconstitutional. Because it is unconstitutional, the ACLU seeks to have those convictions overturned.