Gallo v. Acuna is one of the best examples of an anti-gang injunction. Similarly, place-based interventions, such as closing houses of gambling or prostitution, can reduce social disorder and the presence of criminally inclined nonresidents in a neighborhood, thus promoting community safety and returning control to law-abiding residents (Cheh, 1998). For example, the presence of a “nuisance” can be ascertained through residents’ reports or through the formal actions of police officers and prosecutors. You could not be signed in, please check and try again. For example, an occupant of a property can bring a claim against a property owner for creating or tolerating a private nuisance by ignoring complaints of loud noises, noxious odors, unregulated temperatures, or dangerous dogs on the premises. Similar to the broken-window ordinances in Los Angeles, which focused on public-order violations and minor infractions to prevent future crimes, Chicago’s ordinance criminalized otherwise permissible civil behavior. The courts have upheld civil or administrative ordinances that prohibit loitering. Acts that do not meet the definition of a public nuisance should not be prosecuted under PC 372 or 373a. Nonetheless, as exemplified in the Chicago v. Morales case, such ordinances may fail to pass Constitutional muster. In Gallo v. Acuna, the California Supreme Court agreed that criminal nuisances are enjoinable but disagreed with the appeal court’s determination that only conduct proscribed by the penal code may be enjoined independently. . The evaluation also revealed that the planning and effectuation of abatement strategies is complicated, time-consuming, and costly (Allen, 2002). In other programs, property owners are accorded no opportunities to participate in civil hearings, and their properties are seized without recourse. Within the gang injunction areas, surveys found pre–post implementation reductions in residents’ reports of gang presence, gang intimation, and fear of confrontations with gang members (Maxson, Hennigan, & Sloane, 2005). The Superior Court (lower court) granted the City of San Jose civil injunctions against 38 individual gang defendants under California’s Code of Civil Procedure and Civil Code, which contains the state’s public nuisance statutes. A residential survey and series of observations were conducted to assess the impact of the Verdugo Flats Gang Injunction Program in San Bernardino, California. Note that this nuisance must also conflict with the enjoyment of life of a(n): Therefore, a nuisance that only annoys one or two people might not meet the standards to be considered a public nuisance. Anything which is injurious to health, or is indecent, or offensive to the senses, or an obstruction to the free use of property, so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property by an entire community or neighborhood, or by any … It includes conduct that interferes with public health, safety, peace or convenience. Specifically, police can arrest individuals for committing a crime in a bar, but they have little power to close down a drinking establishment when patrons engage in continued criminal activity or disorderly conduct on or near the premises. A public nuisance consists of knowingly creating, performing or maintaining anything affecting any number of citizens without lawful authority which is either: A. injurious to public health, safety, morals or welfare; or . The research also addressed plausible rival explanations for pre–post differences in crime (e.g., changes in employment rates in both types of communities). A conviction for either charge can lead to the same penalties, which can include: You should also be aware that individuals can face an additional charge under PC 372 or 373a for each day that they do not remove the public nuisance. The residential survey and observations were implemented 18 months before and 18 months after the initiative. Moreover, the subjects of such actions are not accorded with the same due process rights as criminal defendants (e.g., the right to a jury trial or to cross-examine witnesses) (Cheh, 1998). Hence, civil law or codes can regulate activities that would not otherwise be statutorily defined as criminal. All criminal activities of the gang at these locations are documented as evidence for the abatement process. Under most public nuisance laws, on the other hand, individuals cannot seek to stop the activity, unless an exception under state or local law applies. E Examples of public nuisance include pollution of navigable waterways, interfering with the use of public parks and the creation of public health hazards. Individuals who cause a public nuisance for their neighbors can even face charges under: You can get additional information about California Penal Code Section 372 and 373a: Public Nuisance right here. Awareness of abatement activities also appeared to be relatively low on the blocks where properties had been targeted. against the crown, public nuisances at common law are ‘offenses against, or interferences with, the exercise of rights common to the public, ’ such as public health, safety, peace, comfort, or convenience.” (Citizens for Odor Nuisance Public nuisances were initially defined as offenses against “the crown.” The first public nuisance statute was enacted in the 12th year of Richard II’s reign in England. [a]cts or conduct, which qualify as [14 Cal. . Such programs have the potential to modestly improve neighborhood safety and well-being (Maxson, Hennigan, & Sloane, 2005). By bringing suit, the plaintiff usually seeks to control or limit the use of the land owned by the defendant. Following the filing of the lawsuit, the City Attorney’s Office pursues a preliminary injunction against property owners and managers as well as gang members and associates. Public nuisance. Individuals may face PC 372 charges if they: As you can see, this charge can apply in a large number of different circumstances. A public nuisance is a crime against the order and economy of the state. A large-scale, 25-site study of gang injunction programs explored the effects of such initiatives on three major outcomes: serious crimes (felonies), minor crimes (misdemeanors), and calls for police services. . Another police-based, civil remedies initiative, the Beat Health Program in Oakland, California was aimed at eradicating drug dealing from residential properties. The Annapolis ordinance was invalidated for lacking a mens rea requirement (i.e., a culpable state of mind) and for being vague. In general, a culpable state of mind (mens rea) must be established to ascribe blame to an individual for the planning or commission of a crime. The courts have also upheld antiloitering statutes prohibiting other disorderly activities (Linwood v. Board of Education, 1972). In general legal terms, a nuisance is continual activity that adversely affects “the interests of others” (Oleck, 1956, p. 1). Indeed, civil abatement ordinances extend criminal responsibility or civil fault beyond the actual perpetrators of crimes that occur on the premises over which non-perpetrators (i.e., non-offending third parties) have ownership or authority (Mazerolle & Roehl, 1998). Alternatively, loitering can be a catalyst for other criminal behaviors, such as gang activities, violent crimes, or illicit drug sales. PC 372 is the first law used to prosecute public nuisances in California. By bringing petitions to the civil courts, injunctions can be issued against the agents of public nuisances, such as known gang members who threaten the public by loitering on the streets or drug sellers who operate clandestinely from apartment buildings or drinking establishments. 13). By authority, police can respond to only immediate violations of criminal statutes; thus, they have little power to prevent the circumstances that cause ongoing criminal behavior on these premises. Printed from Oxford Research Encyclopedias, Criminology and Criminal Justice. In Gallo v. Acuna, the California Supreme Court considered both criminal and civil law (or equity) in its analysis of a public nuisance injunction. As discussed above, anti-loitering and other anti-nuisance ordinances attempt to curtail activities that, although noncriminal, distally support or evolve into disorderly or criminal activities. Constitutional Amendment XIV, §1). Although carefully conducted in reported investigations, observations are subject to bias and the mere presence of observers could alter the phenomena being studied. The latter included the individual right to not be “assaulted or defamed or defrauded or negligently injured” (Gallo v. Acuna, 1997 p. 92). Gang Abatement Evaluations. For example, antiloitering ordinances attempt to combat criminal activity by criminalizing what would otherwise be considered “civil” activity (i.e., standing in a public way). The City Attorney’s Office in the name of the People of the State of California files a civil lawsuit (i.e., a gang property abatement complaint) that seeks to stem recurring criminal activity at targeted gang-controlled private properties. Greater pre–post reductions were also found within the injunction areas with respect to calls for service (O’Deane, 2012). Penal Code 372 PC is the California statute that prohibits a person from creating or maintaining a public nuisance. . The court’s opinion legitimized the exercise of equitable relief to control public nuisances and expanded the concept of “criminal equity” to include the abatement of public nuisances. Nuisance abatement ordinances began to be broadly applied in regulating places and behaviors in the mid-1980s (Buerger, 2010; Mazerolle & Roehl, 1998). Moreover, the properties help solidify the gang’s control over the neighborhood by becoming a visible focal point for the gang (i.e., its hangout or headquarters). Before we go over the specific definitions of PC 372 and PC 373a, it’s important to clearly understand what a public nuisance is in California. Using a pretest–posttest design, the effects of several antigang injunction programs in Los Angeles, California were examined by comparing crime statistics from the programs’ target areas with those from noninjunction communities (nonequivalent comparison neighborhoods), one year before and one year after the injunction program was launched. Civil abatement concentrates on focal points for criminal or publicly disruptive behavior and on people deemed responsible for either the behaviors (the perpetrators of crime or disorder) or for the places in which they occur (business or property owners). assaulting and/or battering any residents or patrons or visitors . Such remedies can hold accountable nonperpetrators of criminal activities, such as property and business owners, if those activities occur on the premises of the buildings or establishments that they are responsible for managing. The third was the availability of previously unused tools to reverse the precipitous decline of impoverished neighborhoods, which stemmed from crime and public disorder. The evaluation found that the activities of community organization participants in highly disorganized neighborhoods did not signify widespread resident support or enthusiasm for abatement activities. Indictment or information; 2. Civil abatement involves the use of non-criminal remedies to address crime and public disorder in communities. This refers to activities or things that affect the health, safety or morals of a whole neighborhood or community, as opposed to a single isolated victim. For gang members, the occupation of these properties promotes their identity and survival. Therefore, criminalizing otherwise legal behaviors that subsequently foster crimes is a means to reduce or prevent future criminal activities. Gang property abatements are an innovative but underused strategy in law enforcement’s armamentarium of antigang/antidrug efforts. The Supreme Court considered the constitutionality of Chicago’s gang-loitering ordinance in the 1999 case of Chicago v. Morales. In tort law, a type of wrong. However, not all neighborly behaviors are legally acceptable. Such rulings can also hold defendants criminally liable for actions that are inherently noncriminal. 3492. A conviction is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in county jail. The program used notification and warning letters instructing landlords to evict drug-selling tenets from targeted buildings; the landlords were threatened with subsequent court action for failing to instigate eviction procedures. Such enlistments, however, are sometimes unwelcomed, as the ascription of civil or criminal liability to these citizens through legal penalties—threatened or actual—can lead them to be labeled as secondary wrongdoers and to be leveraged, compelled, coerced, or enjoined to engage in anticrime strategies (Mazerolle & Ransley, 2005; Swan, 2014). Quick. Civil remedies typically have a broader reach than law enforcement strategies. In an indirect effort to prevent crime, the police can rely on the liquor authority’s ability to pressure a business owner through the suspension or threat of suspension of a liquor license as well as frequent visits to the establishment to monitor compliance with liquor and other ordinances. Every place (1) Wherein any fighting between people or animals or birds shall be conducted; or, (2) Wherein any intoxicating liquors are kept for unlawful use, sale or distribution; or, (3) Where vagrants resort; and . While maintaining separate roles, law enforcement officers and government regulators have coordinated their efforts to respond to violations of liquor control ordinances. A legal professional can go over your unique situation. California Civil Code 3480 (“A public nuisance is one which affects at the same time an entire community or neighborhood, or any considerable number of persons, although the extent of the annoyance or damage inflicted upon individuals may be unequal.”) 3491. . Public Nuisances CIVIL CODE SECTION 3490-3496 3490. The remedy by indictment or information is regulated by the Penal Code. Individuals may face PC 372 charges if they: Maintain a Public Nuisance; Commit a Public Nuisance; Willfully Refuse to Carry Out a Legal Duty to Remove a Public Nuisance; As you can see, this charge can apply in a large number of different circumstances. 4th 1109] public nuisances, are enjoinable as civil wrongs or prosecutable as criminal misdemeanors, a characteristic that derives not from their status as independent crimes but from their inherent tendency to injure or interfere with the community’s exercise and enjoyment of rights common to the public (Gallo v. Acuna, 1997). Home » California Penal Code » California Penal Code Section 372 and 373a: Public Nuisance. In this case, a street gang was allegedly “terrorizing” a neighborhood in San Jose, California through criminal activity on public streets, including drug use, violence, and shootings. Living in a community requires all of us to accept some minor annoyances as different personalities meet and clash. One forbade defendants from engaging in any activity in public with a known gang member; the other enjoined defendants from “confronting, intimidating, annoying, harassing . Through the application of administrative codes and civil ordinances, civil abatement attempts are made to suppress or eliminate criminal activity and other types of disorderly conduct, known as incivilities or public nuisances (Mazerolle & Roehl, 1998). Let our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles start building your case right now. The underlying rationale of the Gang Loitering Ordinance postulates that loitering helps gang members secure territory in order to promote their gang identity and illicit businesses (e.g., drug sales). Abatement. The unreasonableness may be evidenced by statute, or by the nature of the act, including how long, and how bad, the effects of the activity may be. In the Loyola study, however, residents on abatement blocks were no more likely than residents on non-abatement blocks to report reductions in drug sales, crimes, or disorderly behaviors. Property owners must exercise ordinary care in protecting residents and visitors from the risk of harm stemming from crimes on the premises (Ruskell, 2000). The Court of Appeals heard the case and invalidated 15 of the 24 provisions, upholding only those that enjoined acts under the penal code, which effectively limited the scope of allowable injunctive relief to conduct that would otherwise be defined as criminal (Gallo v. Acuna, 1997). Visible signs of public drug sales and physical decay as well as outdoor drinking and other signs of social disorder decreased on the targeted blocks only (Mazerolle, Roehl, & Kadleck, 1998). Specifically, the court determined that the ordinance’s provisions had enabled the police to infer culpability by observing hand signals or other conduct associated with drug sales; however, these provisions failed to overcome the vagueness doctrine. Violators may be punished by a criminal sentence, a fine, or both. A similar study reported a 10 percent reduction in crime within gang injunction areas in Los Angeles County before and after program implementation (Los Angeles Civil Grand Jury, 2004). The landlord may base the eviction off a 3 day notice to quit, without any opportunity to cure. A wrong arising from the unreasonable, improper, indecent, or unlawful use of property to the annoyance or damage of another, or the general public. It dealt with the pollution of waters for which criminal liability could be assumed. In addition, the comparison areas in quasi-experiments were incomparable in terms of levels of gang presence and activities. Only a few published studies have examined the implementation and effectiveness of drug and gang abatement programs. Unlike the Los Angeles ordinances, however, Chicago’s ordinance criminalized the use of public lands when a subject purportedly engaged in an activity within the purview of civil regulation. Unlike criminal cases, the burden of proof in civil proceedings is a preponderance of evidence (i.e., more likely than not). Nevertheless, evidence of displacement of drug dealing was found within both intervention and control sites (Mazerolle, Price, & Roehl, 2000). Civil abatement ordinances hold property owners and building managers legally accountable for failing to do so (Eck & Wartell, 1998). There are some situations where you may not be able to deal with a public nuisance, even if you wanted to. California Penal Code Section 372 and 373a: Public Nuisance. .” (Ward v. Rock Against Racism, 1989 as cited in Laven, 2004). Many of these statutes were based on “bawdy laws” that had remained unused for decades and never enforced to combat illicit alcohol or drug sales, as their original intention was mostly to interrupt the sex trade (on the streets and in the brothels). For example, closing a warehouse in which drugs are processed or stolen merchandise is sold can do more to deter or interfere with widespread criminal activity than individual arrests can. Long-term effects are also more likely when drug sellers and gang members are provided with social services and prosocial options to replace criminal pursuits. . Research on both types of programs (gangs and drugs) is not only scanty and outdated but also consists of mostly lower-level research designs (pre- or quasi-experimental rather than randomized field experiments) and flawed measures. The court system in California uses PC 373a only to prosecute more specific acts that result in a public nuisance. Under special circumstances, civil or administrative laws may prohibit noncriminal activity. The California Supreme Court eventually reinstated two of the invalidated provisions. The ordinance defined loitering as “remaining in any one place with no apparent purpose” (Gang Congregation Ordinance, 1992). In most states, a public nuisance is “an unreasonable interference with a right common to the general public.” This definition is often broken down into four elements: (1) the defendant’s affirmative conduct caused (2) an unreasonable interference (3) with … A public nuisance is one that has the potential to affect the health, safety, welfare, and/or comfort of the general public. This site is intended to help legal professionals and the public develop a more thorough understanding of public nuisance law, its application and its misapplication. As the term denotes, a public nuisance affects the safety, order, health, and welfare of an entire community. This is not so in the case of particular civil abatement ordinances, which are analogous to strict liability laws in which mental state or intent is unnecessary to find fault or guilt. . A process evaluation of gang abatement programs in California explored the participation of community organizations and other types of resident involvement in the creation and implementation of neighborhood antigang strategies. v. City of Annapolis, 2001). To summarize, without updated and more tightly designed studies, the usefulness and effectiveness of civil injunctions to combat illegal activities and disorder are promising but must remain dubious. shall be requested to move by any police officer” was invalidated on the grounds of being unconstitutionally vague, which is similar to the court’s findings in Morales. The Public Nuisance Ordinance (PNO), Ordinance # 12550 C.M.S., was adopted by the Oakland City Council on November 4, 2003. 0-7-2000, as amended by §11.12.067). Thus, Anything which is injurious to health, or is indecent, or offensive to the senses, or an obstruction … known to have complained about gang activities.” The court rejected a First Amendment vagueness challenge to the former injunction provision (Strosnider, 2002). The uses of civil remedies to curtail or eradicate gang and drug activities have been challenged in the courts. The use of civil remedies to address crime and disorder is grounded in several criminology theories, such as opportunity reduction theory and situational crime prevention. Drug Abatement Evaluations. whether it be a criminal nuisance or not is wholly immaterial. Each charge can lead to the same penalties. • “The elements of a public nuisance, under the circumstances of this case, are as follows: (1) the 2007 poisoning obstructed the free use of property, so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property; (2) the 2007 Similarly, while the First Amendment safeguards freedom of expression, laws to regulate the time, place, or manner of protected speech are allowable if they are “narrowly tailored to serve the government’s legitimate . In 2000, Chicago officials supplemented the Gang Congregation Ordinance with a targeted “hot spot” law, which restricted the court-identified right to loiter within a more narrowly defined geographic area where gang members were prohibited (Alderden, 2012). The injunction against the owners requires that they take definitive and comprehensive steps to improve the properties physically by installing surveillance systems, gates, and lighting and by altering property management practices, for example, hiring new building managers and creating more effective tenant screening and eviction procedures. Go over the legal applications of public nuisance charges and the effects of a conviction today with the Simmrin Law Group. California law defines a nuisance as activity that injures health, including selling illegal drugs, indecent behavior or behavior offending the senses. Project TOUGH (Taking Out Urban Gang Headquarters) is one example of a property abatement program, which was designed to curtail gang and drug-selling activity in Los Angeles, California (Cristall & Forman-Echols, 2009). Despite efforts to reign in the scope of such civil abatement provisions, critics have continued to raise equal-protection and due process concerns about antigang loitering ordinances (Strosnider, 2002). Drug abatement initiatives have varied in terms of their emphasis on civil remedies and criminal sanctions. § 240.45 Criminal nuisance in the second degree. . 370. I Was in a Car Accident Out of State, Can I Still Get an Attorney in Los Angeles, CA? Nuisance. See Cal. For example, a school disciplinary action for loitering on a nearby public street withstood challenges grounded in the First Amendment’s rights to assembly and free speech, the Fourteenth Amendment’s right to due process, and a vagueness claim (Wiemerslage v. Maine Township High School, 1994). Opportunity to cure a preponderance of evidence ( i.e., more likely when drug from! Regulators have coordinated their efforts to respond to violations of court injunctions can result in the use of criminal... 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