A judge in DuPage County, Ill., has banned more than a dozen members of a suburban gang from hanging out with each other. The Chicago Sun-Times describes the case as a landmark decision that law enforcement officials said gives them a powerful weapon to combat gangs. Judge Edward Duncan denied a request from authorities to make the 14 members of the Satan Disciples street gang pay $529,000 in damages.
Prosecutor Joseph Birkett filed the case in 1999 seeking to shut down the West Chicago gang by imposing civil penalties, including damages for gang-related law enforcement costs. Duncan granted a permanent injunction that prohibits the gang members from associating publicly or possessing firearms and other weapons. Birkett called the ruling “a significant tool against gangs” even thuogh the request for damages was denied. “The bottom line is the judge gave us what we were after,” he said, vowing that such suits “will be used again — no question.” Any gang members found violating the order could be brought before the judge for contempt of court.