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Gang Enhancement Reversed

California v. Soriano Court: California Courts of Appeal, Docket: G058363 (Fourth Appellate District), Opinion Date: June 8, 2021. In this case, two gang members were walking together in their gang’s territory where they both lived. Police detained the pair and arrested defendant after retrieving a knife from his pants pocket. A gang expert later opined (given these facts) defendant carried the knife for the benefit of, in association with, and with the intent to promote his gang. A jury found defendant guilty of carrying the concealed knife and found true a two-year gang enhancement. The Court of Appeal concluded there was insufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to find the gang enhancement true beyond a reasonable doubt. The Court thus reversed defendant’s gang enhancement and remanded the matter so the trial court could conduct a new sentencing hearing.

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