Texas Judge Forbids Gang Gatherings
JUAN B. ELIZONDO Jr.
Jul. 31, 1998
AUSTIN (AP) _ Five alleged gang members were ordered Friday not to sit, stand, walk, talk or gather in public view with each other in an Austin neighborhood.
State District Judge Wilford Flowers ruled that the five are a public nuisance. He said the neighborhood would be harmed if he did not bar them from certain activities.
Besides being together, the five cannot publicly see other alleged gang members, use abusive language or loiter around pay phones, businesses and homes. Violations could land them in jail.
Flowers' civil court order is in place until a trial later this year on a permanent ban. He rejected other prohibitions sought by prosecutors, including a ban on the use of gang signals, as unconstitutional.
Francis Williams Montenegro, an attorney for defendant Percy Prejean, said he would appeal.
``You're abating criminal behavior in a civil forum,'' said Montenegro, a member of the National Lawyer's Guild, a civil rights organization. ``What it does, in my opinion, is open the door to illegal search and seizures. It violates the Constitution.''
Prosecutors said the five people have used the neighborhood to deal drugs and intimidate residents.
Jamie Cavanaugh, mother of defendant Derrick LeBlanc, said her son is not a gang member. She said police should go after the big-time criminals if they want to stop crime.