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Name: In re Frank S.
Case #: F049045
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 08/01/2006

A juvenile’s criminal history and gang affiliations were not sufficient to support a finding that the crime of carrying a concealed dagger was gang-related. After an officer found the knife in the minor’s possession, the minor told the officer that he needed the knife for protection because he had been attacked by “Southerners,” who believed that he supported the Norteno street gangs. The minor told the officer that he had friends in the Nortenos. At the contested jurisdictional hearing, a gang expert testified that the minor listed himself as a Norteno during intake at the juvenile detention facility, and that in her opinion this was sufficient to prove his affiliation. The expert further believed that he was an active participant in the gang, and that he possessed the knife to protect himself, and that this possession benefited the Nortenos because it would help them to protect themselves against assault. The court of appeal reversed the true finding on the special allegation, holding that a gang enhancement cannot be found true solely based on a defendant’s criminal history and gang affiliations. Evidence showing an affiliation with the Nortenos does not prove a specific intent to use the knife to promote, further, or assist in criminal conduct by gang members.