California law (Penal Code section 186.22 et seq.) makes it illegal to participate in a street gang, motorcycle gang or other organization were the primary activity is crime. Oftentimes, the “gang” is a loose collection of individuals that have some shared purpose, sometimes unrelated to crime, and by virtue of the association with one another, constitute a criminal street gang.

The purpose behind gang laws is to make it much tougher on the individual who participates in the gang, and the penalties much more severe than the penalties would otherwise be if the act had not been committed for the benefit of, or in association with, a criminal street gang. Because the stated purpose of the gang law is to increase punishment, someone that is facing an accusation that he or she participated in a criminal street gang needs the best possible defense. The punishment is simply too great and the consequences to grave for someone to face an accusation by the government alone, or with inadequate counsel.

But Draconian punishment alone is not the only reason that a sophisticated criminal defense lawyer, familiar with gang cases, is necessary. Mr. Bruno has tried many gang cases. Gang trials often deteriorate into an absurd circus where the rules of evidence and fairness are cast aside in favor of a governmental allowance to postulate nonsense before the judge and jury. This is accomplished primarily through the testimony of a so-called “gang expert,” who was nothing more than a cop assigned to gang suppression and intervention. This so-called expert will testify to just about anything under the sun, no matter how far divorced from logic, reason or the true facts of the case that testimony may be. This is all readily accepted by the court and encouraged by the DA. This so-called expert is really a way to parade a series of horribles in front of the judge and jury, all in an effort to prejudice the trier of fact against the defendant. The testimony often proceeds as follows: Gangs are bad. Gang members do bad things. So simply list all the bad things the gangs do (for the jury), regardless of whether this particular defendant had anything to do with a list of prior bad acts. If the prosecution gets enough unrelated prior bad gang facts before the jury, the jury will hate the defendant so much that a conviction will be assured. It takes an exceptional lawyer to put a halt to this nonsense. Mr. Bruno is that lawyer.

Don’t let your loved one go down without a fight. If you have been accused of a gang crime in Orange County, Los Angeles or the San Diego area, contact the criminal defense firm of BRUNO│NALU. We offer a free face-to-face consultation and can work out a payment plan in most situations.