Can a police officer's gang expert opinion be sufficient evidence to support section 186.22 of the California Gang Law Enforcement Act?

California, United States of America


The following excerpt is from People v. Che, G045016 (Cal. App. 2012):

is one of the group's 'chief' or 'principal' occupations. [Citation.] That definition would necessarily exclude the occasional commission of those crimes by the group's members. . . . [] Sufficient proof of the gang's primary activities might consist of evidence that the group's members consistently and repeatedly have committed criminal activity listed in the gang statute. Also sufficient might be expert testimony . . . ." (People v. Sengpadychith (2001) 26 Cal.4th 316, 323-324 [gang expert based opinion on conversations with defendant and gang members, personal investigations of hundreds of gang crimes, and information from other law enforcement officers].) A police officer's gang expert testimony can be sufficient evidence establishing section 186.22's required elements. (People v. Gardeley (1996) 14 Cal.4th 605, 617-620.)

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