top of page
Search

Gang & Firearm Enhancements Reversed

California v. Venable Docket: E071681 (Fourth Appellate District), Opinion Date: February 17, 2023. A jury found defendant-appellant Travon Venable, Sr. guilty of first degree murder and attempted murder. The jury also found true, on each count, a gang enhancement and a gang-related firearm enhancement. Bullets fired from a small white car killed one victim and wounded another. Both victims were members or associates of the Westside Projects (Projects) gang. Months later, when the police arrested a known informant for an unrelated offense, he offered to give them information about the shooting. He told the police Venable drove the car used in the shooting and Elgin Johnson was the shooter. Both Venable and Johnson were members of the California Gardens Crips (California Gardens) gang, a rival of the Projects. Venable raised multiple arguments on appeal; the State conceded four: (1) the trial judge erred by sentencing Venable on both the firearm enhancements and the gang enhancements; (2) Venable was entitled to a remand so the trial judge could consider striking the prior serious felony conviction enhancement under newly enacted legislation; (3) the gang enhancements and the gang-related firearm enhancements should have been reversed because the jury was not instructed in accordance with newly enacted legislation; and (4) Venable was entitled to a remand for the trial judge to consider reducing the firearm enhancements under newly enacted legislation.


Would you like to learn more about how to prepare your loved one for their parole suitability hearing? We can help. Learn about the process and what it takes to obtain a grant of parole! Email us at info@possesolutions.com, or call us at (213) 572-6227 for more information. #BPH #parolesuitability #rehabilitation #insight #remorse #paroleplans #relapsepreventionplans #remorse #responsibility


The Court of Appeal initially found no errors other than those conceded by the State. However, the California Supreme Court granted review, transferred the matter back to the appellate court, and directed the appellate court to vacate its opinion and reconsider the case in light of the newly effective Evidence Code section 352.2, enacted by Assembly Bill No. 2799 (Stats. 2022, ch. 973) (AB 2799). It was uncontested the trial judge did not consider those additional factors before admitting a rap video in Venable’s trial and that the trial, as a result, didn’t comply with the new requirements for admission. "The question is whether these new requirements apply retroactively to cases like Venable’s, which are pending on appeal at the time of their enactment." To this, the Court concluded the requirements of Evidence Code section 352.2 did apply retroactively in nonfinal cases and that their application likely would have influenced the trial in Venable’s favor. The Court therefore reversed the judgment and remanded for a new trial.