Saturday, October 10 , 2015, 2:52 am | Fog/Mist 69º

Judge Denies Santa Barbara Gang Injunction Petition

By Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk News Editor | @magnoli |

A Superior Court judge has decided the City of Santa Barbara hasn’t met its burden to prove the Eastside and Westside criminal street gangs are a public nuisance subject to an injunction.

In her 32-page decision filed Monday, Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Colleen Sterne determined that there are active criminal street gangs in Santa Barbara and that law enforcement agencies have adequate remedies already available with existing laws, including gang-related provisions of probation and parole. 

“In short, Santa Barbara is not a community beset by substantial and unreasonable gang-related interference with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property by an entire community or neighborhood, or any considerable number of persons,” she wrote.

“There is no evidence that residents of the proposed safety zones in Santa Barbara are prisoners in their own homes, remain indoors at night, prevent their children from playing outside, or whose relatives and friends refuse to visit.”

Mayor Helene Schneider released a short comment Tuesday morning in response to the decision. 

"I respect the court process," she told Noozhawk in an email.

"The city of Santa Barbara will continue to use every tool available to keep our residents and visitors safe while we consider the impacts and options of Judge Sterne's ruling."

During the three-week trial in May, Sterne heard arguments and evidence from the District Attorney’s Office and the Santa Barbara City Attorney’s office, which petitioned for a permanent injunction, and defense attorneys who represented individual clients and made a case against the injunction as a policy. 

There was extensive testimony from members of the Santa Barbara Police Department

The city dropped 19 people from the proposed injunction, leaving 11 as the case went to trial. If the injunction were approved, more names could be added.

The injunction would have restricted the named defendants from associating with each other in certain areas, wearing gang clothing or tattoos, having firearms or weapons, using drugs or alcohol, doing graffiti, and recruiting or intimidating people in the mapped-out “safety zones.”

Check back with Noozhawk for a more complete story.

Noozhawk news editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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