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Name: People v. Hernandez
Case #: B150342
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 06/23/2003
Subsequent History: Revw. granted 9/10/03

Although the trial court erred in denying a motion to bifurcate the trial of the criminal street gangs enhancement (Pen. Code, § 186, subd.(b)(1)), the error was harmless. The court concluded an analogy to a motion to sever was a proper way to analyze whether the motion should be granted. Although the only cross-admissible evidence was that a codefendant demanding money told the robbery victim she was dealing with a certain gang, an officer also testified about a codefendant’s gang tattoos, and that gang members are generally criminals who commit crimes to buy dope and purchase weapons to commit more crimes. The court concluded the error was harmless because the evidence of guilt was strong. The victim consistently identified the two codefendants as the perpetrators, and each was apprehended under circumstances suggesting consciousness of guilt.