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Kane County uses civil court to strike at gangs

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Kane County uses civil court to strike at gangs

Late last month, Kane County prosecutors targeted 25 members of the Maniac Latin Disciple street gang. Law enforcement officials and police tracked down alleged gangsters. But the cops weren’t armed with arrest warrants; police served the reputed gang members with subpoenas ordering them to appear in civil court--not criminal court--for their alleged activities. The unusual move represents an underutilized tool at the hands of law enforcement: the ability to use civil courts to strike at street gangs. In a lawsuit filed last week by Kane County States Attorney Joe McMahon, prosecutors seek unspecified damages from the alleged gang members. The suit also seeks to prohibit the members from openly associating with each other--a controversial remedy that is possible under civil law. Kane County State’s Attorney Joseph McMahon joins Niala to help explain the benefits of taking gang members to civil court. (Photo: Flickr/steakpinball)

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