The AP: SAN FRANCISCO On Thursday, the California Supreme Court overturned a gang member’s conviction for conspiring to murder someone after he used social media to cheer the murder of competitors during a gang war in San Diego.
In an unusually unanimous ruling, the court stated that simply proving Nicholas Hoskins was a “cheerleader” was insufficient to prove his involvement in the killings.
Hoskins’ 25 years to life sentence was overturned by the court, and the matter was remanded to the appeal court that had maintained his conviction.
The case was the result of fighting between Bloods and Crips-affiliated gangs in the San Diego region. After a member of Hoskins’ Bloods-affiliated gang was killed in 2011, the war was proclaimed.
SAN FRANCISCO, THE AP A gang member who used social media to support rivals being killed during a gang battle in San Diego had his conviction for plotting to murder someone overturned by the California Supreme Court on Thursday.
The court determined in an exceptionally unanimous decision that it was not enough to show Nicholas Hoskins was a “cheerleader” to establish his complicity in the killings.
The court overturned Hoskins’ sentence of 25 years to life, and the case was sent back to the appeals court that had upheld his conviction.
Fighting between Bloods and Crips-affiliated gangs in the San Diego area led to the case. The war was declared in 2011 after one of Hoskins’ gang members who belonged to the Bloods was killed.
The Supreme Court stated that a photo of Hoskins making the “Crip killer” hand sign that he shared on social media in 2013 demonstrated that he “knew and approved of” the intention of harming opponents.
The state’s high court, however, ruled that there was no proof that Hoskins had actually participated in any violent incident.
The court ruled that the additional evidence was insufficient to prove that Hoskins had a premeditated plan to kill someone, either directly or indirectly.
The United States Supreme Court ruled decades ago that the First Amendment prohibits punishing a person for simply associating with others, even if they are a part of an organization with a violent goal “The verdict said.
No matter how enthusiastic, a cheerleader is not a co-conspirator unless the prosecution can show that the cheering was designed to help achieve certain specific “illegal objectives, the court ruled.