Writings and observations

WA Bill of the Day: House Bill 2594

Here’s a thought for how to deal with street gangs: Sue ’em.

Okay, sounds like a joke. But House Bill 2594 is actually an interesting idea, providing (with rules-style specifics on how it operates) the ability for a state or local prosecutor to ask a judge for a specific street gang injunction, intended to put a spike into especially hazardous street gang activities.

When the judge agrees to consider an incumbent, papers go out to the gang: “Service of the summons and complaint on the criminal street gang may be made by representative service of process on at least five associates or members of the criminal street gang, at least two of whom occupy a leadership role in the criminal street gang at the time of filing. The court shall order an evidentiary hearing on the complaint. The hearing may be held whether or not any person served in a representative capacity appears to contest the issuance of the injunction.”

Such a hearing – if the gang decides to show up to contest an injunction – could be a fascinating thing by itself. You can imagine a few cases at least where it leads to a mediation type session. Where it doesn’t, at least everyone’s talking. The bill is based on ideas tried elsewhere and – they argue – successfully.

The bill has 35 House sponsors, including plenty from both parties.

Share on Facebook