Harris rejects sentence for gang member

A gang member can now legally challenge a controversial civil injunction aimed at tempering the notorious street gang he belongs to after the District Attorney’s Office rejected a sentence as too lenient for violating his existing probation.

In October, City Attorney Dennis Herrera asked a civil judge to declare the Oakdale Mob gang a public nuisance and issue an order that would prohibit members from participating in 11 activities, such as loitering, publicly associating and graffiti, within a four-block radius that is considered Oakdale Mob’s turf.

DeShawn Range, 26, was arrested Feb. 13 for violating the civil injunction when he stopped to talk to an acquaintance with whom he was prohibited from associating in the safe zone. In doing so, he also violated his felony probation from a previous narcotics conviction.

At a hearing Monday, Deputy District Attorney Pam Pecora-Hansen declined Judge James McBride’s offer of 90 days in jail, servable through community service, for the probation violation, saying the offer was too lenient. The District Attorney’s Office is seeking six months’ jail time.

Now, the criminal misdemeanor charge of violating the civil injunction will go to trial, where Range’s lawyer Brian Petersen said he hopes to challenge the constitutionality of the injunction. Such injunctions have been challenged on grounds that they violate civil rights to speech and assembly.

A self-admitted gang member, Range has a criminal history of drug dealing and weapons charges, as well as sexual abuse. Police say the Oakdale Mob is responsible for at least 12 murders.

Range, who is a single parent and a San Francisco Department of Public Works employee, had permissionto go into the so-called “safe zone” to pick up and drop off his two young girls at his

aunt’s house for day care before and after going to work, his attorney Brian Petersen said Tuesday.

“We’re going to look into the constitutionality of how he was served and the way the injunction was obtained. I don’t have an opinion about any of that now, but that’s what I’m going to be looking into,” Petersen said.

Both prosecution and defense see Range’s case as a test of the injunction.

“The permanent injunction secured just last November has vastly improved the area in and around the designated safety zone,” City Attorney Dennis Herrera said in a joint statement with District Attorney Kamala Harris. “To continue that success, the entire criminal justice system must demonstrate its seriousness in fighting the injustice of gang violence in San Francisco.”

Range is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday for the preliminary motions of his trial.

amartin@examiner.com

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