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Ogden • A police detective testified Tuesday on the history and culture of a gang based here to show a judge why members of the gang should not be allowed to associate with one another.
Second District Court Judge Ernie Jones listened to arguments over an injunction against the Ogden Trece gang and continued the hearing to later this month, but did make one decision Tuesday: rejecting the American Civil Liberties Union's request to join the case.
Jones said allowing the ACLU to file so-called friends of the courts briefs and become a party would slow down the case.
"There is some urgency in getting all this moving forward," Jones said in Tuesday's hearing in Ogden.
ACLU of Utah Legal Director Darcy Goddard outside the courthouse Tuesday said the group is considering its remaining options.
The city of Ogden and the Weber County Attorney's Office is seeking an injunction against the gang called Ogden Trece. The gang also is known as "Centro City Locos."
Deputy Weber County Attorney Christopher Allred on Tuesday called the gang a public nuisance and said it has been responsible for everything from murders and drug dealing to graffiti.
The injunction could prevent 485 documented members of the gang from associating with one another, would impose a curfew upon them and prevent them from entering certain homes and establishments. Gang members who violate the injunction could be charged with a misdemeanor count of trespassing. It is the first such injunction sought in the state of Utah.
Lawyers for six of the accused gang members have argued that, even if their clients are in a gang, the injunction infringes on their rights to peacefully assemble or is a hardship. The six are considered a cross-section of the entire gang and the outcome of their opposition will be applied to the remaining 485.
Jones is considering whether to allow the injunction to go into effect temporarily. Another hearing on the case is scheduled for Sept. 27, at which time Jones could issue a ruling.
Tuesday's hearing also featured testimony from two police officers and a testy exchange between Jones and a defense lawyer.
Ogden police Sgt. Steve Zaccardi testified about the 2002 murder of Weber State University student Daniel David Montgomery. The sergeant said three Ogden Trece members stabbed Montgomery while he sat in his car.
Ogden gang Detective Anthony Powers, who is assigned specifically to investigate Ogden Trece, testified the gang began in 1974 as the Ogden Knights. A year later they changed their name to Centro City Locos then renamed themselves Ogden Trece in the late 1980s.
Gang members mark fences, pavement and other surfaces with "O13" and other gang symbols, Powers said. The O stands for Ogden and the numerals represent the numeric version of "trece," the Spanish word for "thirteen." Some gang members still use the old name and will spray paint "CCL."
Members also will have the markings tattooed on them, Powers said, but members also will sometimes tattoo "OGDEN" in large print on the backs of their heads.
One of the injunction defendants in the courtroom on Tuesday had "OGDEN" on the back of his head. Another defendant had "Ogden" on one arm and "Trece" on the other.
Ogden Trece claims the entire city, Powers said. The gang likes to use the phrase "King of All Sides" to note how they are spread across Ogden, Powers testified. Members, Powers said, also refer to Ogden as "OTown."
The gang wears the color blue and members prefer Utah Jazz or Dallas Cowboys jerseys with the numbers "13 or "31," Powers said. Ogden Trece also accepts females and all races, he said.
Michael Boyle, a defense attorney representing some of the accused gang members, objected several times to Powers testimony, claiming it was hearsay. Jones overruled every time.
When Powers testified cities in California reduced crime by imposing gang injunctions, Boyle objected again, saying prosecutors should produce California witnesses with firsthand knowledge of the injunctions there. Jones said that was an unreasonable expectation.
"So there's no rules of evidence?" Boyle asked.
"Don't give me that crap, Mr. Boyle," Jones replied. "I'm a little offended by that."
When Boyle cross-examined Powers, he asked about Ogden's gang database, which police use to document who belongs to a gang. Someone must meet two of eight criteria to be entered into the database as a gang member.
Powers acknowledged that a gang member's girlfriend who also wears Dallas Cowboys gear meets the criteria, even though she may not commit any crimes or further the gang's activities.
"Girlfriends are going to become gang members if they are hanging around their boyfriends?" Boyle asked.
"A lot of girlfriends are gang members, as well," Powers replied.
One defendant at Tuesday's hearing was Samuel Parsons, 19. He has no visible tattoos and said he is not in Ogden Trece. But Ogden police included him in the injunction because he is in a hip-hop music group that includes Ogden Trece members, has been seen leaving parties with members, was found wearing a cap that read "OTown" and once told police he was in the gang.
Parsons, who has only misdemeanor convictions for marijuana and alcohol possession, says he wants to be able to perform and record with his band, who call themselves Goon Squad.
"I hang out with all types of people," Parsons said. "I don't discriminate."