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Gang Enhancements Reversed

California v. Fletcher Docket: E077553 (Fourth Appellate District), Opinion Date: June 30, 2023. After a joint trial, defendants and appellants Larry Fletcher and Eric Taylor, Jr. were convicted of several crimes stemming from a shooting outside of a convenience store. At trial, an expert opined that both Fletcher and Taylor were members of the Four Corner Hustler Crips gang. The jury found appellants guilty on all charges and enhancements. The trial court then found the allegations on the prior convictions to be true. Given their strike priors, Fletcher was sentenced to 56 years and four months to life, and Taylor 100 years to life. One of the issues presented on appeal was one of first impression: whether, and to what extent, appellants were entitled to relief under California Assembly Bill No. 333 (2021-2022 Reg. Session), which narrowed the applicability of certain punishments for offenses involving a criminal street gang. Although the Court of Appeal agreed with the parties that Assembly Bill 333 required the Court to reverse the conviction for active participation in a criminal street gang (count 2) and the gang enhancements (counts 1, 5, and 6), the Court held that the new law did not apply to the findings on serious felony and strike priors. In the unpublished portion of its opinion, the Court rejected several of appellants’ other challenges to their convictions and sentences, reversed on various counts and findings based on other new laws, and remanded to the trial court for further proceedings.

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