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Name: People v. Thomas
Case #: E035829
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 06/30/2005

The court did not err in allowing a gang expert to describe conversations with gang members where those conversations formed the basis of his expert opinion that the defendant was a gang member. The court found no error under Crawford because the statements were not admitted for their truth, and Crawford did not undermine the established rule that experts can testify to their opinions on relevant matters, and relate the information and sources upon which they rely in forming those opinions. The court further found that the expert’s opinion provided sufficient evidence to support defendant’s conviction for active participation in a criminal street gang. Likewise, the court found that sufficient evidence supported defendant’s conviction for possessing a stolen car in which he was a passenger, due to facts establishing defendant’s presence in the car shortly after its theft, his having witnessed the theft, his failure to disassociate himself from the thief or the stolen vehicle, and his flight after being observed in the car. The court found no error in the admission of evidence regarding defendant’s prior robbery conviction, since that conviction helped to form the gang expert’s opinion regarding defendant’s membership in a gang. Finally, the court found that a violation of Penal Code section 186.22, subdivision (a), was a serious felony under section 1192.7, subdivision (c).