Multi-million dollar lawsuit to be filed over Ogden gang restraining orders

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OGDEN -- It was a novel idea to cut crime.

Ogden police served hundreds of alleged members of a violent street gang with restraining orders, prohibiting them from associating with each other in public -- within most of city limits. Police said it worked, documenting a drop in violent and property crimes.

Lawyers for the alleged gang members fought it all the way to the Utah Supreme Court, arguing it violated their constitutional rights to free association. The state's top court overturned the injunctions, ruling that the orders were improperly served.

Now, a lawyer for some of the alleged gang members is gearing up to sue Weber County and Ogden police for millions.

"It was such an oppressive measure by Weber County, to institute this type of action," Michael Studebaker, an attorney for the alleged gang members, told FOX 13 on Tuesday. "The breadth was amazing, what they were able to accomplish in terms of trampling on the constitutional rights of 500 people."

Studebaker has filed a notice of claim with the Weber County Attorney's Office, demanding as much as $20,000 for each person targeted by the injunctions. If he prevails, it could cost the county more than $10 million.

"Our intention is to file a class action on behalf of all 500 or so," Studebaker said. "Based upon what the Weber County Attorney's Office has said, all 500 or so alleged Ogden Trece members."

Weber County Attorney Dee Smith declined to comment on the pending litigation when contacted by FOX 13 on Tuesday. He did say they are still working on whether or not to re-serve the alleged members of the Trece gang that would be compliant with the Utah Supreme Court ruling.

Studebaker said if they did, it could cost millions anyway.

"They would have to entitle each person a hearing, so we're looking at 300 to 500 hearings to determine whether they're a gang member and that  opens it up to further litigation and appellate process," he said.

Weber County has 60 days to respond to the notice of claim, Studebaker said. They could enter into settlement talks, or he would file a lawsuit.

9 comments

  • chris

    Wow way to fight against something good. what a scumbag lawyer hopefully him n his family are victimized by these gang members one day an he sees he was wrong.

  • Brian Michael Owens

    So where’s the compensation for the victims of this gangs wrongdooings in the past? I’m pretty sure that if they are “A Violent” gang they have trampled a few peoples rights as well.

  • John L.

    Ok….so let the county sue those gang members for damages, expenses, victims’ loses, etc., when those gang members are convicted in a court of law for any crime they commit! I bet this lawyer would be thrilled to represent them for no fee…. then again, probably not!

    • Loveogden

      So judgemental to assume that the attorney would not get paid…If not then that is where your taxdollars fall into place lol, What a Biggot!

  • Step

    They do I’m sure all of these gang members have been punished for their crimes. That doesn’t mean these police can violate their rights when they are doing nothing wrong just because they are affiliated. They had jurisdictions that were set for a reason. Not only was the whole thing a violation of rights anyway but these police men thought it would be ok to do it out of their jurisdiction also, and it isn’t you need to look at both sides of the story. Some of these people are affiliated but haven’t had priors for years and were trying to get away from the lifestyle and did not deserve to be picked on in front of their family’s. They did their time for the crimes they committed we don’t need to hang it over their heads IF they are trying to change.

    • whitney

      I agree with you.. I was documented as a known Ogden Reece member because I associated with some people and have family the Ogden gang unit put me through hell and gave me a record they violated my rights completely…we deserve justice..

  • Zach

    This has me rolling on the floor. Anyone with any understanding of the constitution could see this coming. Instead of being mad at the gang members and the law of the land, why aren’t people mad about the single Megalomanic behind the injunction from the first. Enjoy the benefits of what he has sown Ogden.

  • Celena Babington

    Yes some of these young men were totally being harrassed by the Ogden City Police. They were taken to jail on several occasions just for simply being in the same vehicle together. Some families have spent thousands of dollars for bail and fines due to some being arrested and also for having to take care of a loved one who is incarcerated on these ridiculous ordinances. These are young men who have families and children. They have been harrassed and judged enough! It’s time that they should be compensated for it.

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