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Ex-Latin Kings Barred from Saving Those Still Trapped in Gang Life
Court Won't Let Reformed Members Show Former Peers Way Out of Gangbanging
Contact: Tom Ciesielka, TC Public Relations, 312-422-1333, tc@tcpr.net
ELGIN, Ill., August 29, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ -- All they want to do is give other gangbangers the chance they had. The City of Elgin and the State of Illinois want to stop them. Brothers Elias and Saul Juarez and brothers Ruben and Oscar Sanchez are former gang members, now rehabilitated, whose primary goal is to reach out and save those who are perishing in the downward spiral of street gang life.
A motion to dismiss was filed in Sixteenth Judicial Circuit Court, Kane County, IL to allow these new Christians to talk with active members of the Latin Kings about the hope they have found in Jesus, and to stop Elgin's and Illinois State's violation of the free speech and religious rights of these brothers, guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
The case that Illinois and Elgin are pressing in the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit Court would not only prohibit the Juarez and Sanchez brothers from spreading their gospel of reformation, but also insists on continuing to label these messengers of changed lives as the gangbangers they no longer are.
The court is attempting to throw the Illinois Street Gang Terrorism Omnibus Prevention Act at these young men, declaring that they "are members of the Latin Kings."
Chicago attorney John Mauck, of Mauck and Baker, is representing the Juarezes and Sanchezes in this matter. He is quick to point out that this is an assertion unsupported by facts. Mauck explained, "We gave Kane County State's attorney Barsanti plenty of evidence that these men had left the gang, but his office insists on continuing legal action against them without a shred of evidence they are still in the gang. The County could just as well assert that Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk are members of the Latin Kings."
Mauck and his clients agree that street gangs are bad. According to many, the Latin Kings are among the worst. Not many members of the Latin Kings are blessed to get out, but Elias and Saul Juarez and Ruben and Oscar Sanchez did, by the grace of God and with the help of the Christian church. Now, they want to help other gang members escape the typical gangbanger's life of crime and infamy.
Armed with piles of letters and depositions from the pastor and parishioners of Christ Redeemer Christian Church in Elgin, the two pairs of brothers are anxious to share these epistles written by those who have been witness to their transformation. These young men are fighting the charges that would ban them from being able to share the faith that transformed their lives with others trapped in a street gang lifestyle.
Because of the serious implications the case holds for impeding religious liberty and freedom of speech as guaranteed by the First Amendment, the Alliance Defense Fund has gotten involved. The ADF is a national organization committed to protecting religious freedoms, and is working with Mauck's firm on behalf of the Juarez and Sanchez brothers.
Mauck emphasizes that is not the intent of his clients or their defense "to thwart the efforts of the City and State to stop the dangerous activities of the Latin Kings." He explained that the Juarez and Sanchez brothers "are actually putting their own lives at risk by sharing their stories and the redemptive power of Jesus" that brought them out of the gangbanger life.
The motion to dismiss filing is available here. The letter to Kane County Special Prosecutor Patrick Crimmins is available here.
To interview Attorney John Mauck, or for more information on this story, please contact Tom Ciesielka, TC Public Relations at 312-422-1333 or tc@tcpr.net.