Public Defender’s Office Victorious in Removing Another Non-Gang Member From Gang Injunction List

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San Francisco, CA – The Public Defender’s Office was again able to successfully remove a person from the City Attorney’s gang list, this time in the Western Addition injunction. Makia Johnson was ordered excluded from the Western Addition gang injunction by Superior Court Judge Peter J. Busch. In a 14-page decision, Judge Busch ruled that “the evidence is not sufficient for the Court to conclude that she (Makia Johnson) participates in or acts in concert with the gang.” The decision granting two preliminary injunctions in the Western Addition was issued Thursday afternoon.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera labeled Makia Johnson a member of the alleged Chopper City gang in an injunction lawsuit filed last July in San Francisco Superior Court. To support this claim, City Attorney Herrera presented affidavits from San Francisco Police Officer Davis Do who opined that Johnson was a gang member based on three incidents during which she had been seen in the presence of unidentified alleged gang members. Johnson denied having any gang affiliation from the beginning and no hard evidence of gang affiliation was provided.

Johnson, 19 years old, was raised in the Western Addition District and has many friends and relatives who live there. She is currently participating in the John Muir School/Glide Memorial Church School on Treasure Island with the aim of getting her high school diploma and qualifying to work in the construction industry.

“I am gratified that the court conscientiously reviewed my client’s and a second unrepresented person’s case, finding that they should not be included in the gang injunction,” says Deputy Public Defender Christopher Gauger. “My deeper concern is not judicial – as the court has little choice but to authorize some version of the injunction under current law – but one of policy. This is a proven failed policy that may result in more crime. Although the conditions are to be enforced under the same level of constitutional scrutiny that applies to all law enforcement action, I fear the injunction will invite harassment and confuse law enforcement as to their duty, resulting in intended and unintended harassment.”

The preliminary injunctions will cover two non-coterminous areas totaling 12 square blocks in the Western Addition. Unlike the preliminary gang injunction issued last Monday covering the Mission, there are no prohibitions on color or nighttime loitering.

The mission of the Public Defender’s office is to provide vigorous, effective, competent and ethical legal representation to persons who are accused of crime and cannot afford to hire an attorney. Established in 1921, the San Francisco Public Defender has a long, proud history of providing top-notch representation to its clients, and championing programs that help people turn their lives around.

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