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Name: In re Cabrera
Case #: F059511
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/11/2013

Inmate’s possession of two photocopied drawings, which contained the partial names of gang affiliates as the artists, does not provide “some evidence” that the inmate had an “association” with the artists that constituted a “direct link” as required by California Code of Regulations, title 15, section 3378. Following an assault on prison staff in the yard of a prison facility, every Hispanic inmate assigned to the yard was scrutinized by a gang investigator and petitioner’s personal property, including his collection of artwork, was inspected. (Petitioner was in his cell at the time of the assault.) The collection included photocopies of four drawings, two of which were drawn by gang affiliates and contained a part of each artist’s name. Based on petitioner’s possession of the drawings, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) classified him as an associate of the gang in question. Held: Writ of habeas corpus issued directing CDCR to void petitioner’s gang validation. Section 3378 provides a procedure for validating inmates as members or associates of prison gangs. Under the regulation, at least three source items are needed to validate an inmate. One of the source items must be a “direct link” to an actual person, not just the gang itself. The court here concluded that the “some evidence” standard of review applies to CDCR’s gang validation decisions. Applying this standard, the court found that there was no rational nexus between petitioner’s mere possession of a photocopied drawing bearing the partial name of the artist and the ultimate determination that petitioner had a loose relationship with the artist that constituted a connection without interruption, so as to satisfy the requirements of the regulation. Any belief of a link between petitioner and the artist was merely speculative as there was no evidence as to how petitioner came into possession of the drawings.