Tuesday, July 07, 2009

People v. Ramon (Cal. Ct. App. - July 7, 2009)

For a good portion of this opinion, based upon its tone and content, I thought that Justice Cornell was going to hold that the gang enhancement here was proper. Which was going to make me go ballistic.

Basically, a guy who was in a gang stole a car, and a police officer testified at trial: "Well, if you steal a car, you're able to use that car to commit crimes on behalf of a gang if you feel like it, so yeah, I'd stay that stealing the car was in furtherance of gang activity." And on that basis the judge and jury said, sure, he's guilty of the gang enhancement.

Which is absurd. Sure, maybe he stole the car to commit a gang crime. Or maybe he just stole the freaking car. Everything in your life doesn't revolve around advancing your gang just because you're in one. Eating Doritos ain't for the gang. Nor is stealing a car so you can drive to the store and buy the Doritos. There's no proof beyond a reasonable doubt that just 'cause a guy steals a car and drives it around where he lives that's done to advance the gang.

Which is ultimately what Justice Cornell holds. To my great satisfaction.