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    Injunctions used to curb gang activity

    Date: 06.18.10 | by Judge Tom.

    Do you know what an “injunction” is?  It is a court order requiring someone to either do something or stop doing something.  For example, an order that you not go to a certain mall or store – you are “enjoined” from being there.  Or it could be an order that a school allow a student to wear a certain article of clothing (belt, bandanna or jewelry). In that case, the school is “enjoined” from prohibiting the clothing as a violation of a school rule.  Violating an injunction may result in being held in contempt of court with consequences including jail or a fine.

    Injunctions are also used to rid areas or neighborhoods of gang crimes.  In California, Texas and Florida, for example, courts have authorized the police to enforce city curfews.  The stated goal is eradication of criminal activity and establishment of peaceful neighborhoods.  Teenagers are used to posted times in parks and public areas.  These new curfews, however,  apply to everyone, not just teenagers.  In Los Angeles, California, a violation of the curfew can result in a six-month jail sentence and a $1,000 fine.  Anyone seen hanging out in public after 10:00 p.m. or wearing gang colors is subject to arrest.

    Housing projects, city parks and entire neighborhoods have been singled out for injunctive relief.  Some claim that enforcement of the curfews has cut the crime rate significantly.  Opponents argue that the injunctions lead to wrong identification of alleged gang members and the loss of basic freedoms.  The ability to travel freely in one’s immediate area, to and from work or a relative’s home, are compromised under these policies.

    What do you think?  Is there a curfew in your area?  Is it just for those under 18 or does it apply to everyone?  Do you know why it exists?  If you oppose the curfew, what can you do about it?

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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    1 Comment subscribe to these comments.

    • C A Thibeault
      Tue, 29 Jun 2010 at 03:30

      Welcome to the New Nazi World Order. People are giving up their liberties for less freedom, but more security.

      They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. -Benjamin Franklin