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Local News

Santa Barbara Gang-Injunction Case Stalled Pending Ruling

Although the City of Santa Barbara has been pursuing a gang injunction against the Eastside and Westside gangs for almost two years, a trial is still waiting on the decision of Juvenile Court Judge Thomas Adams.

The City Attorney’s Office and Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office filed a civil suit against 30 named alleged gang members in March 2011.

If approved by Judge Colleen Sterne, the injunction would restrict the named defendants from associating with each other in certain areas of the city, wearing gang clothing or tattoos, having firearms or weapons, using drugs or alcohol, doing graffiti, trespassing, and recruiting or intimidating people in those zones.

Before the trial for a permanent injunction moves forward, Adams must rule on which juvenile-court and criminal records for the defendants can be admitted.

Defense attorneys have vehemently argued against using juvenile records in the injunction case, which are confidential under Welfare and Institutions Code 827. Defense attorney Tara Haaland-Ford has said that about half of the information involved in the case is juvenile-based, although all of the defendants are now adults.

Adams has been considering the issue since last summer, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Hilary Dozer.

“We expressed our frustration to the court this morning that it is taking so long to obtain documents that we feel are rightfully the subject of release by statute,” Dozer said.

The documents in question include more than 9,000 pages of Juvenile Court records, police reports, probation reports and law enforcement field identity cards, Dozer said.

At Monday’s case management conference, Sterne continued the case until April 8.

Alleged gang members named in the city’s legal filing are represented by attorneys, and many have filed paperwork to opt out, which requires them to renounce gang life with proof, including no arrests, new tattoos or gang membership for three years.

Sterne will eventually rule on those motions as well.

Noozhawk staff writer 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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