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Stop Houston Gangs - In The News
  Posted on: Monday, February 14, 2011
Gang member learns ban order has teeth
Returning to Haverstock Hills complex will cost him 300 days
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One week after prosecutors banned 47 gang members from setting foot in the chronically troubled Haverstock Hills apartment complex, the first known gang member has been caught violating the order.

Devin Lamont Banks, 30, was apprehended Friday in the 57-acre "safety zone" set up around the northwest Houston apartment complex long known for gangs, drugs and violence. He pleaded guilty Monday in exchange for a 300-day jail sentence.

"I guess they were serious when they told you they didn't want you to come back," County Court-at-law Judge Paula Goodhart said after hearing the plea.

"Yes, ma'am, they were serious," Banks said.

The injunction classifies named gang members as "public nuisances" who can be penalized by a year behind bars if caught violating the order.

Banks was one of four men who appeared in court Feb. 7, in gang regalia, and agreed to the order prohibiting them from trespassing at the complex in the northeast corner of Aldine Bender and the Eastex freeway.

"I'm confident a judge or a jury would have given him the full year if it went to trial," said Assistant Harris County District Attorney Joni Vollman.

Banks is expected to serve five months of the sentence. His attorney, Tonya Rolland, said Banks weighed his options and was comfortable with his decision to admit guilt. Rolland declined to discuss why Banks violated the order.


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