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Civil Gang Injunctions: A Guide for Prosecutors

NCJ Number
Max Shiner
Date Published
June 2009
64 pages
This paper introduces prosecutors and law enforcement agencies to the specific steps necessary to put into place gang injunctions, with the intent to reduce gang-related criminal activity.
As gang crime continues to escalate across the country, prosecutors, law enforcement, and community leaders are continually seeking innovative methods to reduce the spread of gang-related criminal activity. Gang injunctions, as described in this paper, are a novel approach to the reduction of gang-related criminal activity. Gang injunctions were pioneered by the Los Angeles City Attorney's office. Gang injunctions use civil injunction law expanding the traditional purview of prosecutors. Prosecutors obtain gang injunctions by applying the law of public nuisance to the particular harms criminal street gangs cause. There are several provisions of the gang injunction, with the most important and effective provision the "do not associate" requirement which restricts gang members' ability to gather in groups. Supported by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, this paper outlines the critical steps necessary in initiating civil gang injunctions including selecting a target gang, planning the injunction, collecting and preparing the evidence, drafting the pleadings, giving notice to the gang, and enforcing the gang injunction.