Cruz-Quintanilla v. StateAnnotate this Case
Evidence of a convicted defendant’s membership in a gang is admissible at sentencing even where the gang membership is unrelated to the underlying criminal conviction but where the State establishes that all gang members are aware of, and required to participate in, the criminal acts of violence of the gang.
Petitioner in this case was convicted of reckless endangerment; wearing, carrying, or transporting a handgun; and conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon. At sentencing, the State sought to introduce evidence that Defendant was a member of a gang. The trial court permitted admission of the evidence. Defendant appealed, arguing that the circuit court erred in admitting evidence of his gang membership at sentencing. The court of special appeals affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the sentencing court did not err in admitting evidence of Defendant’s gang membership and considering it in fashioning an appropriate sentence.