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California Court Rules On Yuba County Man’s Gang Participation Charge

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The California Supreme Court has ruled that a suspect can’t be convicted of felony gang participation if he commits a crime by himself.

Thursday’s ruling affirmed a lower court decision that reversed a Yuba County man’s conviction on a special enhancement of committing a crime for the benefit of a street gang. Thirty-two-year-old Joe Rodriguez Jr. of Woodland was convicted of the charge in 2008 in connection with a robbery attempt in Marysville.

In a 4-3 ruling, the high court agreed with the lower court that Rodriguez — a known Nortenos gang member — acted alone in committing the robbery attempt, and therefore could not be convicted of the gang enhancement.

Rodriguez of Woodland, Calif. is currently serving a sentence of more than 8 years.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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