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Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Seven of eight alleged members of the Latin Kings street gang

04:52 |

Seven of eight alleged members of the Latin Kings street gang being sued by Boone County took the stand this morning and each denied that they were members of the gang. The case is set to resume at 1 p.m. in Judge Eugene Doherty’s courtroom in the Boone County Courthouse with one more defendant, Cecillio Rubalcava, left to be called. Closing arguments will then begin.None of the defendants has hired an attorney, which has prompted Doherty a few times to explain the finer points of the ongoing court process to the defendants. At one point, the judge even invoked the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination on behalf of a defendant. Boone County State’s Attorney Michele Courier repeated nearly identical lines of questioning for each defendant. Each was asked if he was a member of the Latin Kings. When each answered “no,” Courier would ask about specific instances when the individual allegedly told a police officer that they were a gang member, about certain tattoos the individual had and about the clothes they were wearing or the hand signals that they displayed in photographs that prosecutors displayed for the court. This led to various defendants describing yellow shirts as “more beige” and one explaining that a tattoo of a playing card king wearing a five-pointed crown was actually “Jesus Christ, the king of all and master of all.”Prosecutors are attempting to prove that the eight defendants are members of the Latin Kings and should be barred from associating with one another or gathering in areas frequented by the gang. They are also seeking monetary damages from the alleged gang members.
Courier is the first prosecutor in the Rock River Valley to file a lawsuit against alleged gang members under the authority of the Illinois Street Gang Terrorism Omnibus Prevention Act.She is following in the footsteps of DuPage County, where in the late 1990s, officials began filing lawsuits under the act to deter gang activity.

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