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Name: People v. Hunt
Case #: E050775
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 05/20/2011

A gang expert’s testimony that any crime by a gang member is almost always for the benefit of the gang does not violate due process. The gang expert testified that intimidation and respect are everything to a gang. He was given a “mirror-image” hypothetical with the facts of the crime involving a robbery in which one of the men admitted that he committed the robbery of a Del Taco in order to pay his parking tickets. The expert gave the opinion that everything they do, even if personally motivated, would benefit the gang because it reaps the benefits of building respect and fear within the gang community.

When a sentence is enhanced under Penal Code section 12022.53, subdivision (e) by ten years, the sentence for the substantive offense of actively participating in a street gang pursuant to section 186.22, subdivison (a) must be stayed pursuant to Penal Code section 654. The street gang enhancement is not an enhancement or a penalty provision which is prohibited under People v. Brookfield (2009) 47 Cal.4th 583, 591, which addressed the substantive offense and penalty provisions of 186.22(b) not 186.22(a).