San Diego Law Review


Edson McClellan

Library of Congress Authority File


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In response to rising gang-related crime, California passed in 1988 the Street Terrorism and Prevention (STEP) Act. Among the tools it provides to prosecutors is civil injunction of gang behavior: a prosecutor may enjoin a range of otherwise legal conduct as well as conduct that is independently proscribed by the Penal Code. The first appellate challenge was People ex rel. Gallo v. Acuna, handed down April, 1995. The court modified slightly the terms of STEP to avoid vagueness and overbreadth and commanded that to bind a defendant to an anti-gang injunction "there must be some personal, individual participation" in the illegal conduct. This comment analyzes the Acuna decision to show that, despite minor modifications, STEP remains a powerful arsenal against gang-related crime. In conclusion, the author agrees with the premises of STEP and the Acuna decision but suggests protection of civil liberties may warrant slightly higher scrutiny by the courts.

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