The case between gangs versus civil rights goes all the way up to the Utah Supreme Court and ends with a ruling Friday. The court found the city of Ogden's injunction against the gang known as 'Trece' invalid. That means, gang members can once again associate with one another in public places without penalty.
The 19 page ruling from the Utah Supreme Court Friday comes after a two year battle. It finds that Weber County did not properly serve the injunction and therefore could not enforce the injunction. But officials say this is not the end.
If you've driven through certain parts of Weber County, you might've noticed graffiti. It's a signal of Ogden's Trece Gang is here. And to stop gang activity, the county started serving gang members an injunction. The ACLU and defense attorneys argued in court that this law was far too broad and named people gang members by using vague criteria.
"Nobody and their dog could have argued that they didn't know the gang was being sued, but the legal requirements for suing someone requires us to provide a certain kind of notice," said Weber County Deputy Attorney Branden Miles.
Because the county did not properly notify the leader of this criminal enterprise, the injunction is now void. So the gang can once again gather in public places once again.
Ogden Police released this statement Friday saying in part, "We do not view this decision as a set back as to the merits of the injunction, but rather the direction from the courts as to how to serve a criminal gang."
After all, authorities say the injunction was working, citing that all minor and major crimes saw a decrease after the injunction.
"Case loads on average going from 16 per month on something like graffiti down to four. So we can show a 75% drop in criminal street gang activity," said Miles.
So now, the Weber County District Attorney's Office is back to the drawing board.
"We got the conditions of the court, we've got the additional evidence that they would like to see on the record that will allow us to pursue them. We are prepared to do that," said Miles.
There are some 300 expected Ogden Trece members. And who is or isn't and who is a leader or not, is hard to determine. So the county, doesn't want to try to serve everyone individually. But the county is going to have to find a way to serve the gang as a whole. And that process starts Monday morning.
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