HCCLA, together with TCDLA and the Harris County Public Defender’s Office, has filed its amicus (friend of the court) brief in the Southlawn Gang Injunction case.
The Harris County County Attorney and District Attorney have sought to banish members of the Southlawn community from entering the area under the theory that they are protecting this area from gang activity. In short, the County has identified many individuals whom they seek to explicitly and permanently ban from entering, remaining, appearing, sitting, walking, driving, bicycling, or being physically present within the “Southlawn Safety Zone.” This zone is just over 2 square miles.
While we recognize the County’s attempt to curb criminal activity within a particular area, this approach is offensive to the Constitution and effectively expels the named defendants from ever entering the area – whether for school, church, or to visit family.
Banishment, while used in medieval times, has never been authorized under Texas law. Banishment is the greatest form of punishment and should not be used as a civil remedy.
The full text of our amicus can be viewed and downloaded here:
Thanks to the lawyers involved in this litigation for bringing this issue to our attention. And special thanks to Nicolas Hughes for his work in researching and writing on this issue.
For more information on the civil injunction case, Drew Wiley provides an overview.
See also, Texas Lawyer coverage