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Gang & Firearm Enhancements Reversed

People v. Rojas Docket: F080361 (Fifth Appellate District), Opinion Date: June 29, 2022. Defendant and a codefendant shot and killed another person after an altercation. Defendant was convicted of first-degree murder with a true finding of the gang special circumstance. He was also convicted of active gang participation. Defendant raised several challenges on appeal, including challenges to the gang-murder special circumstance and his substantive gang-participation conviction. The Fifth Appellate District affirmed Defendant's conviction for first-degree murder. The court held that allowing AB 333’s changes to section 186.22 to affect section 190.2(a)(22) would constitute an impermissible amendment of Proposition 21. However, the court agreed with Defendant that AB 333 required the reversal of his gang-participation conviction under section 186.22(a). The court also reversed Defendant's gang and firearm enhancements after the Attorney General agreed that a reasonable jury could conclude the “common benefit” of the murder in this case was not more than reputational.

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