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California Supreme Court

Feb. 23, 2024

Supreme Court makes gang enhancements harder to apply

The court’s unanimous opinion reversed and remanded a case that stemmed from a 2015 crime in which a gang member unlawfully entered a woman’s home, raped her, and stole her laptop and phone, which were later sold by other gang members.

Justice Leondra R. Kruger. Photo courtesy of the California Supreme Court

The California Supreme Court has made it more difficult for prosecutors to add a gang enhancement in sentencing by showing a “pattern of criminal gang activity.” Thursday’s unanimous opinion written by Justice Leondra R. Kruger resolved a split between appellate districts — by finding that both lower courts got it wrong.

The case centers on the interpretation of AB 333. This 2021 law aimed to limit the use of gang enhancements by requiri...

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