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Name: People v. Cortes
Case #: B206770
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 06/16/2009

A gang enhancement (Pen. Code, sec. 186.22, subd. (b)(1)(A)) may be proven by a combination of documentary evidence, percipient witness testimony, and opinion testimony by an experienced investigator. Appellant was convicted of murder and attempted murder and the jury found that the crimes were committed for the benefit of a criminal street gang. There was testimony from Detective Rivas, an experienced gang investigator, that defendant’s gang was involved in the requisite statutorily enumerated crimes and that defendant’s gang was currently at war with the rival gang of one of the victims. Further, there was evidence presented that a search of defendant’s home resulted in the finding of items correlated with gangs, such as colored bandanas, photos of defendant throwing gang signs, etc. The appellate court found this evidence was sufficient to support the jury finding that the gang enhancements were true. (People v. Sengpadychith (2001) 26 Cal.4th 316.)