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Name: People v. Margarejo
Case #: B196889
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 04/22/2008

A gang enhancement can be based on evidence that indicates that the purpose behind a defendant’s “signing” to individuals who are not gang members is to intimidate the community and/or law enforcement. Appellant, who was known to the police as being a member of the Highland Park gang, led the police on a lengthy chase after they attempted to pull him over for running a stop sign. During the chase, appellant made the Highland Park gang sign to pedestrians, to other cars on the freeway, and to the police. When appellant finally came to a stop, he exited the car, carrying a gun, and ran into the apartment of a close friend, who was a fellow gang member, where he stashed the gun. The jury convicted appellant of evading, felon in possession of a firearm, and possession of a concealed gun in a car, and found true gang enhancements as to all the offenses. The appellate court rejected appellant’s argument that there was no evidence that the car chase was gang related. Penal Code section 186.22, subdivision (b)(1) requires the felony to be for the benefit of the gang, with specific intent to promote any criminal conduct by gang members. According to the court, appellant had no purpose in flashing the gang sign during this high speed chase, other than to intimidate the community and to relay the message that the gang does not fear the police so, “you better fear us.”