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Name: People v. Ramirez
Case #: B191377
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 08/06/2007

A gang expert’s opinion based on hearsay is not “testimonial” under Crawford v. Washington (2004) 541 U.S. 36, and does not violate the confrontation clause.

To prove the gang enhancement at defendant’s trial, the gang expert gave hearsay testimony about two predicate offenses. The expert was familiar with the facts of these cases because he had also testified as an expert in each case. Defendant argued on appeal that allowing hearsay testimony about the facts of these cases violated his right to confrontation. The Court of Appeal disagreed. Experts can give opinions based on hearsay. (People v. Thomas (2005) 130 Cal.App.4th 1202.) Further, experts are subject to cross-examination, and the hearsay upon which an expert relies is not elicited for its truth, but rather, to assess the weight of the expert’s opinion. So, hearsay supporting an expert’s opinion is not testimonial hearsay condemned by Crawford.