Judge rules against street gang

Temporary restraining order curbs Oakdale Mob actions within four Bayview blocks

ASuperior Court judge on Monday imposed a temporary restraining order against a street gang, saying there was a “compelling case” it constitutes a public nuisance, and limiting its members’ actions within a four-square-block area of the Bayview district.

In a packed hearing, Judge Peter Busch stopped short of granting the civil injunction sought by the City Attorney’s Office, saying he wanted to give those named in the proposed injunction more time to respond before making a decision on the injunction itself.

In suing for the injunction, City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who is charged as city attorney with nuisance abatement, wanted a court order to declare 80 alleged Oakdale Mob members a public nuisance, saying members hold neighbors hostage as they engage in drug dealing, robberies, carjackings and at least 12 murders. He asked that the injunction prohibit members from participating in 11 identified criminal and noncriminal activities, including graffiti, selling and doing drugs, intimidation, hanging out with one another in public and being outside after 10 p.m. If the members violate the order, they could be subject to jail time and fines for misdemeanor violations.

The contention is that prohibiting the activities identified in the injunction will prevent more serious crimes from occurring in the “safety zone,” a four-square-block area around Oakdale Avenue and Baldwin Court where the injunction would apply.

On Monday, Busch ordered a temporary restraining order that adheres to all the orders in the proposed injunction except a 10 p.m. curfew. The restraining order will only affect the 22 alleged Oakdale Mob members named in the proposed injunction, not the 80 members the gang is alleged to have in total.

“We’re very thrilled that the court saw the immediate need for relief for this community,” said Deputy City Attorney Machaela Hoctor, who argued the case. The American Civil Liberties Union argued Monday that insufficient notice was given to those who would be affected by the order. Those not named in the immediate injunction might not know it applies to them until after it has been argued, ACLU attorney Michael Risher said.

But City Attorney Dennis Herrera called the argument of insufficient notice a “red herring.” He noted that the court had ordered his office to notify two alleged gangsters in person, and that his office had notified three.

Risher said there is also a question of whether the injunction proceeding infringes on its subjects’ Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Because the injunction identifies its subjects as gang members, they may be in a position where they have to admit to being a gang member in order to argue against the injunction, Risher said.

“Only the gang and its members have standing to challenge the lawsuit. If an individual is not a member of the gang, if they’re not committing gang-related crimes, then they have nothing to worry about. They don’t need to come and challenge it because it won’t affect their law-abiding behavior,” Hoctor said. “The reality is that each of these 22 individuals is an Oakdale Mob gang member and the evidence is overwhelming that they are. If they weren’t a gang member, they couldn’t go back there because they’d get shot.”

amartin@examiner.comBay Area NewsLocal

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