http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/05/27/BA6K1DLLF4.DTL An Alameda County judge signaled Thursday that he will approve Oakland's first gang injunction, a legal order that would prohibit 15 alleged gang members from gathering in a neighborhood that police say is overrun by violence. Judge Robert Freedman told attorneys at a Superior Court hearing that the city had met its threshold for proving that the named defendants were affiliated with gangs in North Oakland, and that he was satisfied with the process the city is proposing to determine whether the injunction is effective. He did not say when he would issue a final ruling. Deputy City Attorney Rocio Fierro said the injunction would create a "safety zone" in a 100-square-block area near the city's borders with Emeryville and Berkeley. It would ban the 15 alleged gang members from associating with each other, loitering or possessing guns, and would impose a curfew on them of 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. City Attorney John Russo asked for the injunction in February in response to what he said was a dramatic spike in gang violence in the past three years. "We are not asking these people to go jail," Fierro said, responding to accusations from defense attorneys that the injunction infringed on the defendants' right to freely assemble and move within their own neighborhood. "We are asking them to stop their behavior." At least two of the alleged gang members were at the hearing in Oakland, seated just a few feet from the police officers who could eventually serve them with legal orders that would prevent them from associating. Yancie Young, who the city says is a member of North Side Oakland, or NSO, said through his attorney that the injunction would make it difficult for him to continue on his career path as a carpenter's apprentice. Young said he would instantly violate the injunction if he carried his tool belt and cans of spray paint, which would be forbidden items because they could be used to create gang graffiti. Young lives within the proposed injunction zone, in a home he inherited from his recently deceased father, he said, and cares for his younger brother who is confined to a wheelchair. Michael Haddad, who represents Young, said the city's legal remedy was an unconstitutional approach to fighting crime. "The answer to Oakland's crime problems isn't injunctions," Haddad said outside the courtroom with his client at his side. "The answer to crime is professional and lawful policing." The injunction would be the first time Oakland has used a tool more familiar in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Russo, however, has said he will seek as many as a dozen more legal orders to keep gang members from associating. The proposed injunction gained traction last year when Desiree Davis, 17, a senior at Oakland Technical High School, was shot and killed in the area. According to the city attorney's office, seven homicides in North Oakland last year could be traced to gang activity. The city says gangs including North Side Oakland, Gaskill Maniacs, Bushrod Cold Gunnaz 59 and ASAP/FT are active in North Oakland. The gangs are at war with rivals from West Oakland and south Berkeley, police say. Roy Johnson, 29, another alleged North Side Oakland member named in the proposed injunction, said he knew only two people on the list, one of whom is his brother-in-law. Johnson said he was on probation for marijuana possession, but denied he was a gang member. "They say I'm in a gang because of this," he said, pointing to an NSO tattoo on his inner left forearm. "It's my neighborhood. And now they want to treat me like a kid and keep me in my house." E-mail Justin Berton at firstname.lastname@example.org. Presumably these alleged gang members are prohibited by injunction because they're not convicted felons, and therefore haven't lost their right to possess firearms. I sympathize with the officials who are dealing with horrific circumstances in Oakland, but this is just plain wrong. I want to see the gang members taken out of circulation - permanently - as much as the next guy, but you can't make up new ad hoc constitutional limitations simply for the convenience of the police. This stuff scares the crap outta me. Any prosecutor who can "satisfy" any judge can arbitrarily restrict our rights to - well, take your pick - Amendments !, 2, & 4, for starters. I never thought that I'd find myself on the same side as the "Bushrod Cold Gunnaz 59." But there it is. Okay, ACLU, we need you now!