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updated: 6/4/2013 3:56 PM

5 Aurora gang members who ignored lawsuit banned from hanging out

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In the year since the Kane County State's Attorney's office sued 35 Latin Kings in Aurora, injunctions have been issued against five gang members because they never responded to the lawsuit.

The men -- Gabriel Berrios, Jose Castillo, Ruben Hernandez, Genoveno Nevarez and Joseph Moore -- cannot gather or associate with each other anywhere within the city of Aurora.

If they are caught, prosecutors may file criminal misdemeanor charges or ask a judge to have the men jailed, similar to a contempt of court proceeding.

"The injunction prohibits a whole range of activity," said State's Attorney Joe McMahon. "(The five) failed to respond to the lawsuit. They failed to file an answer or respond in any way. I hope (other defendants) have changed their behavior. If not, this is one more incentive for them to do so."

The injunction also prohibits the five men from entering an area bounded by Rural Street to the north, New York Street to the south, Ohio Street to the east and Lincoln Avenue to the west unless they live there, work there or are visiting a relative.

McMahon said that area was targeted because it has had a high rate of gang activity.

Basically, the lawsuit seeks to prevent gang members from congregating and make them uncomfortable on their turf. Authorities have said the lawsuit is one more tool to fight gang activity.

Most of the remaining gang members are fighting the lawsuit, filed in May 2012.

In a motion filed last week to dismiss it, defense attorney Liam Dixon argues the lawsuit violates the men's First Amendment right to assemble and express themselves.

Dixon also has argued the suit violates the men's right to due process and could result in double jeopardy as many of the men have been prosecuted once in criminal court and are being punished again in civil court for the same offense.

A judge is scheduled to hear the motion Wednesday.

In September 2010, then-Kane County State's Attorney John Barsanti filed a similar lawsuit against more than 80 Latin King members identified by Elgin police.

Four defendants are still fighting it, saying they are no longer in a gang and that the lawsuit prevents them from meeting at churches to speak out against gangs and live in gangs. A trial date for that has not been set.

Patrick Crimmins, an attorney hired by the state's attorney's office to handle the Elgin lawsuit, said there have been no violations since the suit was filed that have resulted in defendants being summoned to return to court.

"It's been very quiet since this has been pending, which is good," Crimmins said. "We have a lot of motions to dismiss. We survived all of them."

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