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Judge Widens Injunction Against Gang

OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) - After a 1½-year legal battle, a Superior Court judge issued a preliminary injunction against nearly 40 gang members, preventing them from gathering in Oakland's Fruitvale neighborhood.

The Oakland City Attorney's Office claimed the Norteños gang is responsible for "decades of murders, assaults, robberies and other crimes committed against residents and businesses in the Fruitvale District."

Alameda County Judge Robert Freedman concluded that the City of Oakland showed that the conduct of the Norteños and its members "constitutes a nuisance in that their behavior - including, but not limited to, narcotics possession and sales, graffiti, firearms possession, frequenting known gang areas, keeping company with well-known gang members ... intimidating witnesses and assaulting citizens - is indecent and offensive to the senses [and] interferes with the comfortable enjoyment of life and property."

Freedman issued an injunction against five alleged Norteños members in October 2011. The new added 21 gang members plus at least a dozen more that are in custody.

The defendants are prohibited from entering a 2-square-mile "Safety Zone" unless they are attending school, church, engaged in "legitimate" employment, attending community meetings or receiving counseling services, performing volunteer work or meeting with an attorney.

The defendants, represented by Dennis Cunningham, Jose Luis Fuentes and Michael Siegel with Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice, and by Yolanda Huang and Jeff Wozniak, argued that they had no opportunity to present evidence that injunctions don't work and can actually damage the community.

Oakland successfully sought a similar injunction against North Side Oakland gang members in June 2010.

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