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Name: People v. Sok
Case #: B213467
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 01/21/2010

A "strike" conviction does not double the enhancement attached to the instant felony; the term for the enhancement is added after the term for the felony is doubled.
Penal Code section 186.22, subdivision (b)(5), establishing a parole eligibility date where the penalty for the instant offense is life, applies only if the felony provides for a life sentence, not where the enhancement on the felony results in an aggregate punishment of life in prison.
Penal Code section 246 is a felony subject to alternative penalty provision of Penal Code section 186.22, subdivision (b)(4)(B) of life in prison with…

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Name: People v. Gonzales et al.
Case #: B207856
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 01/12/2010

In a gang-related offense involving the use or discharge of a firearm, the principal who does not use or discharge a firearm is not subject to imposition of an enhancement for participation in a criminal street gang when an enhancement is imposed for the weapon. Ortiz was convicted of first degree attempted murder and assault, with the jury finding that the crime was committed for the benefit of a gang and that a principal personally used a handgun causing great bodily injury. (Pen. Code, secs. 186.22, subd. (b)(1) and 12022.53, subds. (b)(c)(d) and (e)(1).) Gonzales was convicted of attempted non…

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Name: People v. Ochoa
Case #: E045756
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 11/20/2009

Gang enhancements based solely on expert testimony were reversed for insufficient evidence. At Ochoa's trial for robbery and carjacking with gang enhancements, the prosecution put on testimony of a gang expert who opined that the carjacking was done for the benefit of the gang. No other evidence tended to show that the carjacking was gang related. On appeal from his conviction, Ochoa contended that substantial evidence did not support the true findings on the gang enhancements. The appellate court agreed and reversed the gang enhancements. A gang expert's testimony alone is insufficient to find an offense gang related. While the…

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Name: People v. Vazquez
Case #: B213000
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 10/13/2009

Sufficient evidence to support a gang enhancement existed where appellant intended to promote gang activity by means of the murder. Vazquez was convicted of first degree murder, with a special allegation that the murder was for the benefit of a street gang, pursuant to Penal Code section 186.22, subdivision (b). On appeal, he conceded that he committed the murder but contended that the gang enhancement should be reversed because there was insufficient evidence that he committed the murder with the requisite specific intent to promote gang activity. The appellate court rejected the argument finding that substantial evidence established that Vazquez…

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Name: People v. Brookfield
Case #: S147980
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 08/31/2009

A sentence enhancement for a companion's firearm use was not proper where the court has imposed a life term for participation in a criminal street gang. Appellant was convicted of a gang-related crime in which he did not personally discharge a firearm, but a companion did. The trial court sentenced him to life in prison because of his participation in a criminal street gang and imposed an additional 10-year term under section 12022.53, subdivision (e)(1) for the companion's firearm use. The appellate court upheld the life sentence but directed the trial court to vacate the 12022.53 enhancement. In this companion…

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Name: People v. Jones
Case #: S148463
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 08/31/2009

Enhancement for firearm use was proper for shooting into an inhabited dwelling for the furtherance of a street gang. Appellant was subject to life imprisonment because he committed a shooting into an inhabited dwelling for the benefit of a criminal street gang. (Pen. Code, secs. 246, 186.22, subd. (b)(4)). It was also found that he personally discharged a firearm (Pen. Code, sec. 12033.53, subd. (c)) and that he unlawfully possessed a firearm (Pen. Code, sec. 12021, subd. (c)(1)), that these offenses were in furtherance of a street gang (Pen. Code, sec. 186.22, subd. (b)(4)). Appellant was also convicted of street…

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Name: Briceno v. Scribner
Case #: 07-55665
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 02/23/2009

Evidence that a crime was committed with a fellow gang member, alone, is insufficient to prove the crimes were gang related. Appellant and his fellow gang member committed four robberies on Christmas Day 2000, the robberies resulting in minimal proceeds. At trial, Briceno stipulated that Hard Times was a street gang and that on 12/25/2000, he actively participated in the Hard Times criminal street gang with knowledge that members have engaged in criminal gang activity, as defined in Penal Code section 186.22. He specifically did not stipulate that he aided and abetted another gang member on that date.…

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Name: People v. Williams
Case #: F052218
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 10/22/2008

When determining whether a group constitutes a criminal street gang, "[s]omething more than a shared ideology or philosophy, or a name that contains the same word, must be shown before multiple units can be treated as a whole." A jury convicted appellant of murder and of active participation in a criminal street gang. As to the murder, the jury found true a special-circumstance allegation that the crime was committed to further the activities of a criminal street gang. The gang charge and special-circumstance allegation were based on evidence that the murder was committed for the benefit…

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Name: People v. Leon
Case #: D048304
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 03/25/2008

An aider and abettor is guilty of the target offense and any other offense that is a natural and probable conseuence of the target offense if he acts with knowledge of the criminal purpose of the perpetrator and with an intent of committing, encouraging or facilitating commission of the offense. A "natural consequence" is one that is reasonably expected to occur in the commission of the target offense, absent unusaul intervention, and "probable" means likely to occur. Appellant and his codefendant who were members of the same gang, were burglarizing vehicles in opposing-gang territory when the victim arrived. The codefendant…

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Name: Lopez v. Superior Court
Case #: G039025
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 02/29/2008

A gang enhancement was not properly charged where the underlying contempt charge was based on the same gang-related conduct. Lopez was arrested for being in the company of Santa Nita criminal street gang (SNG) members after 10:00 p.m. with open containers of alcohol in violation of a court injunction to abate the public nuisance of SNG conduct. He was charged with three counts of contempt, and each count carried an allegation that it was committed for the benefit of a criminal street gang in violation of Penal Code section 186.22, subdivision (d). Lopez demurred to the indictment…

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