In an odd twist on how the law can work, Los Angeles prosecutors have filed charges against two men who allegedly violated a court order prohibiting them from being present within the “Central City Recovery Zone.” The area is located between 3rd and 9th streets, and runs from Broadway to Central Avenue. In April, a judge issued an injunction, ordering 78 people to stay out of the area, purportedly in an effort to prohibit gang and narcotics activity on Los Angeles’ skid row.

The 78 people named in the injunction were identified by law enforcement as allegedly “the most prolific narcotics dealers” in the area. City prosecutors further claim that 56 of the named individuals in the injunction have an affiliation with gangs. The injunction not only bars the 78 individuals from freely walking into the area, but also bars them from possessing drugs or dangerous weapons, and goes so far as to prohibit the individuals from allegedly selling drugs to anyone who lives in the area. The injunction prohibits the named citizens from being present in the area, apparently even if law enforcement has no reason to suspect a California drug crime is involved.

Charges were recently filed against two people alleging that they violated the injunction.

Police claim that on Nov. 5, they saw a 22-year-old in the restricted area who is apparently one of the people named in the injunction and arrested him. On Nov. 14, a 30-year-old man was arrested after the cops allegedly saw him “associating with known narcotic users within the stay away zone.” The two arrests are reportedly the first actions taken by Los Angeles police and city prosecutors since the injunction was issued last spring.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Alleged gang members charged in first test of Skid Row crackdown,” Andrew Blankstein,Nov. 17, 2011