Once a Latin King, Not Always a Latin King, Court Orders

Once a Latin King Not Always a Latin King, Court Rules 

After seven years of litigation and a five day bench trial, men found not to be gang members. 

ELGIN, Ill. – For nearly seven years, brothers Elias and Saul Juarez and brothers Ruben and Oscar Sanchez fought the city of Elgin in court in order to clear their names and defend their right to lead young men away from the Latin Kings street gang. The city filed suit in September 2010 accusing each of them of being Latin Kings and seeking an order prohibiting them from speaking with gang members. While three of the men had once been gang members, at the time of suit they were actively engaged in organizing anti-gang marches and speaking at local schools about the perils of joining a gang. Two of the men recounted how they were beaten out of the gang after coming to faith in Jesus.

After the suit was filed, the brothers’ attorneys at Mauck & Baker, LLC provided Elgin with the evidence that showed that the men were not Latin Kings, but the city continued its suit against them. On August 11, 2017, the court ruled against the city and found that the brothers were not in fact gang members when the case was filed.

“These men were known in the Elgin community for their anti-gang ministry. They risked their lives trying to lead men out of the gang. We are glad the court finally cleared their names.” attorney John Mauck said. “But Elgin’s counter-productive and wasteful lawsuit has cost the taxpayers and these men a great deal.”

The court’s order noted that the city was still seeking an injunction in 2017 even though the city’s own police department had not identified the brothers as gang members for “a number of years.”

Because the city of Elgin would not dismiss the suit and was using any communication the brothers’ had with known Latin King gang members as evidence that they were in the gang, the brothers filed a countersuit to defend their right to share their faith with gang members in hopes of persuading them to leave the gang and follow Jesus. The court, however, found that the city had not unlawfully interfered with the brothers’ rights.

“Imagine risking your lives to free men from the gangs only to find yourself on the other end of a government lawsuit and knowing that the only way to ensure your name is cleared is to stop your anti-gang ministry.” said attorney Noel Sterett of Mauck & Baker.