People v. Garcia

The investigation into a 2006 homicide was dormant until Garcia and other members of the Los Latinos Locos (Triple L) street gang were implicated by someone in custody on an unrelated offense. Garcia was accused of entering into an agreement with fellow gang members to lie to police and obstruct the homicide investigation, preventing police from discovering who committed the crime. Defense counsel successfully moved to dismiss charges of participating in a criminal street gang (Pen. Code 186.22(a)) and conspiracy to obstruct justice (section 182(a)(5)). The court of appeal reversed the order. The court wrongly concluded that the accessory charge required evidence that Garcia was an accessory after the fact (section 32) or obstructed a peace officer in the performance of his duties (section 148). Probable cause is clear; a reasonable person would harbor a strong suspicion of Garcia’s guilt. Garcia entered into an agreement with a fellow gang member with the specific intent to agree to obstruct the police investigation and protect his fellow gang member and made false statements to the police in order to obstruct the investigation. View "People v. Garcia" on Justia Law