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Local News

Judge Sets March Hearing for Santa Barbara Gang Injunction

The proposed Santa Barbara gang injunction was back in court Monday morning, and Superior Court Judge Colleen Sterne set a hearing date for next year.

Sterne set a March 17 date to hear the case, City Attorney Steve Wiley said. The case will have been continued in pre-trial for three years by then, but Wiley said this newest date seems firm.

The injunction names 30 alleged gang members from the Eastside and Westside gangs as defendants. 

If granted by Sterne, the injunction would restrict those individuals 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 the mapped-out “safety zones” that include most of the Eastside and Westside neighborhoods, as well as the waterfront.

Sterne has final say on the injunction and can change the language if it is granted.

Wiley’s office and the District Attorney’s Office jointly filed the gang injunction civil complaint in March 2011, and Police Chief Cam Sanchez has said his officers will use it as “another tool in the toolbox” to prevent and enforce crimes of gang violence and recruitment.

For a long time, the case was waiting on a court decision regarding whether the plaintiffs could use juvenile records of the 30 named defendants as evidence during trial. In July, Juvenile Court Judge Thomas Adams ruled that they could use about 5,000 pages of juvenile court, criminal and police records, which are confidential.

Defense attorneys have vehemently argued against using them, while the District Attorney’s Office argues that it’s important to show a pattern and history of gang-related behavior.

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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