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Name: People v. Sanchez
Case #: F071330
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 12/19/2017

Procedures used by prosecution to identify active gang members to include in a permanent anti-gang injunction violated the defendant’s procedural due process rights. In 2009, the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office (SCDA), obtained a permanent anti-gang injunction against a Nortenos gang. Sanchez was not a party to the proceeding in which the injunction was granted. When he was 17 years old in 2010, Sanchez was served with the injunction, without prior notice or opportunity to be heard on whether he was a gang member. In 2013, he was cited for contempt for violating the injunction. He moved to dismiss the complaint on procedural due process grounds. The trial court found that Sanchez was denied his due process right to a predeprivation remedy and dismissed the contempt charge. The prosecution appealed. Held: Affirmed. A procedural due process claim is evaluated in two steps: (1) a determination whether there exists a liberty or property interest which has been interfered with by the State, and (2) by employing a balancing test to determine “whether the procedures attendant upon that deprivation were constitutionally sufficient.” (Mathews v. Eldridge (1976) 424 U.S. 319.) The injunction in this case permanently enjoins the defendants from engaging in a wide range of activities in a defined area of Modesto. An investigator with the SCDA decides which individuals are gang members and serves them with the injunction. There is no predeprivation process for persons to be removed from the injunction. The injunction significantly burdens and interferes with constitutionally-protected liberty interests and fundamental rights. It has no expiration date, and no review procedure is available to remove a person from its purview. The District Attorney’s process for determining whether a person is an active gang member was neither objective nor particularly reliable, encompassing a significant risk of error. The state does not have a significant interest in failing to provide a predeprivation procedural safeguard before subjecting individuals to the injunction. The trial court correctly dismissed the criminal contempt charge. [Editor’s Note: The court did not consider the facial constitutionality of any of the injunction’s terms.]

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: