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Defendant in Texas Gang Injunction Lawsuit Murdered

HOUSTON, Texas — One of the defendant’s in a controversial gang injunction lawsuit has been murdered. He was killed in the Houston neighborhood where court action has been taken in an effort to reduce crime there.

Thirty-year-old Eddie Ray Gaderson was killed during a drive-by shooting inside the proposed “Southlawn Safety Zone,” as reported by the Houston Chronicle. He was shot in the abdomen.

Gaderson has a lengthy criminal history in Harris County. His latest encounter with police was a failure to stop and give information after an auto accident in March of 2015. His next court date on the misdemeanor was to be on March 31. Gaderson has a November 2014 conviction for driving while intoxicated.

The dead man was a habitual criminal who also had Harris County convictions for felony delivery of a controlled substance (cocaine) and trespass of a building in 2013, according to court records obtained by Breitbart Texas. There is a judgment for forfeiture for his failure to appear in court, another trespass in 2010, felony tampering with physical evidence in 2011, possession of marijuana in 2010, felony possession of  cocaine in 2008, and evading detention in 2004.

In September, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson and Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan filed a lawsuit against 92 men, the majority of them black men, in order to obtain an injunction against them. The government entities seek to permanently enjoin them from coming into the neighborhood.

Lawyers who represent criminal defense legal organizations filed an amici curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in support of the defendants. The Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (TCDLA), Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association (HCCLA), and the Harris County Public Defender’s Office, all urge that banishing these men from the “Southlawn Safety Zone,” is unconstitutional.

In response, the Harris County Attorney and District Attorney filed a brief urging that the defense lawyers have redefined the word “banish,” ignored the community that the gang injunction protects, and “neglect[ed] any legal treatment of the gang injunction’s symbiotic partner – Texas Penal Code sections 71.01-71.05.” This chapter of the Texas Penal Code addresses organized crime, including engaging in organized criminal activity, and violating a court order enjoining organized criminal activity, as well as coercing, inducing or soliciting membership in a criminal street gang.

The Democrat judge, Judge Alexandra Smoots-Hogan has instructed the attorneys and parties not to talk to the media. The judge has not issued a written order to that effect.

A motion to remove the judge has been denied during the case proceedings.

The judge signed an order in September 2015 when the case was first filed but rescinded it on October 27 instructing “the District Clerk [to] immediately remove any confidentiality and/or sealing of the instant case.”

Permanent injunctions have been issued against the defendants who defaulted because they did not file an answer in the case.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled in April, according to a representative from Harris County.

Lana Shadwick is a writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as a prosecutor and associate judge. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2

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