The ACLU of North Carolina opposes this bill because it would violate the personal liberty and due process rights of anyone accused of being in a gang, even if they've never been convicted of a crime
This bill makes it easier to obtain a court order that restricts the liberty of people accused of being members of a criminal gang under GS 14-50.43. The injunction can apply to any person who is a criminal gang member as defined by GS 14-50.16A, which does not require that the individual be convicted of a crime.
This bill specifies that the court order can prohibit a gang member from "associat[ing] with other persons associated with a criminal gang." This may mean the person cannot do basic activities, such as: living with or seeing family members who are also covered by the injunction, carpooling to work or religious services, attending a funeral, going to the grocery store, or playing sports. These injunctions raise serious concerns with restricting the liberty of individuals who have not been convicted of a crime and given sufficient opportunity to rebut the claims against them. It is especially problematic that many individuals subject to these injunctions are not able to obtain an attorney to represent them in these civil cases.
This bill adds a penalty for violating the civil injunction, such as visiting with a friend or family member, to include a charge of criminal contempt, even if they have never been convicted of a crime.
It allows the injunction to apply to any "gang member" who associates with other gang members, striking the requirement to have engaged in criminal gang activity. The definition of "gang member" does not require that the person committed any crime, and can be met with prior gang involvement.
It would allow an injunction to apply to "unknown gang members," with no hearing or right of appeal.
This type of bill is unconstitutional and violates people's right to due process. Similar gang injunction laws have been struck down, including one last year in California.