Gang injunctions are civil orders issued by a judge that attempt to target
groups of individuals. This is usually an order asked for by law enforcement
as a tool to help them label individuals as gang members and restrict
their activities in a defined area. They seem dubiously legal because
they make everyday activities, such as picking up someone late at night,
illegal for the people they target.
Many people are concerned with injunctions because of their potential for
harm. They impose restrictions on civil liberties, and they allow the
police to give overly broad discretion to label people gang members without
having to present evidence or even charge someone with a crime. Their
predisposed notions of what a gang member looks like profoundly color
their objectivity, which makes the injunction a carte blanche ticket for
However, they are issued in cases where a judge feels the gang is posing
a significant public nuisance to the neighborhood. This type of injunction
has been challenged and has gone before the California Supreme Court,
which held they are constitutional.
Even though they have been considered problematic for years, law enforcement
has continued to ask for them. However, places like Los Angeles have numerous
gang injunctions but have lost more than 10,000 kids to gang violence
in the last 20 years. Likewise, social service programs have proven to
be effective at reducing violence and gang activity by providing jobs
and job training to individuals and better educational opportunities for
Communities have the role of opposing gang injunctions by providing public
education regarding gang injunctions and their problematic nature. Likewise,
people should write to their public officials and propose real solutions,
such as better social service programs in the community.
If you’ve been accused of a crime, let us help. Our skilled
Santa Barbara criminal defense attorneys have 30 years of combined legal experience to offer your case. Our firm
is dedicated to providing aggressive and knowledgeable advocacy for our
clients. Let us see what we can do for you.
at (805) 467-6060 or fill out our online form today to schedule your free