Gang Enhancement Robbery - Example Case

In Garcia v. Carey (9th Cir. 2005) 395 F.3d 1099, the defendant was convicted of robbery and the jury found true a gang enhancement allegation. As framed by the majority, the issue on appeal from a grant of habeas corpus relief was whether the evidence was sufficient "to support the jury's finding of the required specific intent: that is, the intent to 'promote, further, or assist in' other criminal activity of the gang apart from the robbery of conviction." (Garcia, supra, 395 F.3d at pp. 1100-1101.) In concluding the evidence was insufficient, the majority found nothing in the record "that would support an inference that Garcia robbed Bojorquez with the specific intent to facilitate other criminal conduct by the E.M.F. The evidence indicates that Garcia was a gang member and that he robbed Bojorquez in an area known to be in the heart of the gang's 'turf.' Detective Hernandez, the gang expert, testified that the gang was 'turf oriented,' and he described three other robberies committed by E.M.F. members in El Monte during the few months prior to Garcia's offense. But there is no evidence indicating that this robbery was committed with the specific purpose of furthering other gang criminal activity, and there is nothing inherent in the robbery that would indicate that it furthers some other crime. There is nothing on the record that connects the 'turf-oriented' nature of the gang with the commission of robberies generally, or, more importantly, with the commission of this robbery in particular. There is no testimony that protection of turf enables any other kind of criminal activity of the gang. The expert's testimony is singularly silent on what criminal activity of the gang was furthered or intended to be furthered by the robbery of Bojorquez." (Id. at p. 1103.) The majority agreed with the magistrate, who had found nothing in the record "'which would support an inference that Garcia robbed Bojorquez in order to facilitate other gang related criminal operations within El Monte.'" (Ibid.) The dissenting judge took issue with the majority's interpretation of section 186.22, subdivision (b), and concluded the statute did "not require proof that the crime of conviction was committed with the intent to further some other specifically identified crime or category of crime. ..." (Garcia, supra, 395 F.3d at p. 1105 (dis. opn. of Wallace, J.).) He also concluded that the evidence gave rise to a reasonable inference that, when Garcia asked Bojorquez where he was from and identified himself as an E.M.F. member, Garcia intended to intimidate Bojorquez and the owner of the store in which the incident occurred, so that Bojorquez would know not to intrude on E.M.F. turf in the future and so that the store owner would submit to the gang's dominance. The dissenting judge further opined that it could probably be concluded that this type of intimidation would facilitate the gang's control of the area and make it easier to commit crimes there in the future. (Id. at pp. 1106-1107.)