Prejudicial Effect of Gang Affiliation Evidence
In People v. Williams (1997) 16 Cal.4th 153, "The prosecution's theory was that the victim Dunn, clothed in blue like a Crip and having traveled into an area 'claimed' by both Bloods and Crips, was shot by a Blood for at least appearing to be a Crip.
Evidence defendant was a member and leader of a Blood gang set that operated in the area of the murder ..., that defendant led a meeting of Blood gang sets where killing Crips was discussed and weapons were distributed ..., as well as evidence describing gang colors, behavior and areas of influence ... all had a 'tendency in reason to prove' (Evid. Code, 210) that defendant had a motive for killing, and may indeed have shot, a young male wearing blue clothing in the area where Dunn was shot." (Id. at p. 193-194.)
The Supreme Court rejected the defendant's argument that the prejudicial effect of the gang membership evidence outweighed its probative value:
"The gang evidence presented in this case was of more than minimal probative value. It tended to establish, among other things, that the victim appeared to be a member of a gang which was a deadly rival of defendant's gang." (People v. Williams, supra, 16 Cal.4th at p. 194.)