In People v. Clark, the Supreme Court today resolves a split in Court of Appeal opinions about interpreting amendments to a gang enhancement statute — Penal Code section 186.22 — made by Assembly Bill No. 333 (Stats. 2021, ch. 699). The amendments, with less than clear language that has taken up a not insubstantial amount of space on the court’s docket, narrowed the circumstances under which the gang enhancement could be imposed.

The court’s unanimous opinion by Justice Leondra Kruger holds the multiple offenses that constitute a “pattern of criminal gang activity” necessary to trigger the enhancement can be “committed by individual gang members acting alone” and need not, as some appellate courts had ruled, be “committed in concert with other gang members.”

The opinion also concludes, however, that proving the existence of a gang “requires a nexus between the individual predicate offenses and the gang as an organized, collective enterprise. This organizational nexus requirement is satisfied by showing a connection between the predicate offenses and the organizational structure, primary activities, or common goals and principles of the gang.”

The court reverses the Fourth District, Division Two, Court of Appeal partially published opinion. It also disapproves the First District, Division Three, decision in Rodas-Gramajo v. Superior Court (2023) 92 Cal.App.5th 656, the Second District, Division Seven, decision in People v. Delgado (2022) 74 Cal.App.5th 1067, and the Second District, Division Eight, opinion in People v. Lopez (2021) 73 Cal.App.5th 327. The Supreme Court denied review in Rodas-GramajoDelgado, and in Lopez.