By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
To place the gang-membership label on Mahoney for jurors, Mendelson used Mike Riley, a law-enforcement gang expert. The DA asked him a loaded, circular-logic, hypothetical question: If an active PEN1 member burglarized a bar, would that prove the burglar was an active gangster committing the crime for the benefit of a gang? Eisler objected. Jensen overruled him, and Riley stated the obvious.
When it was Eisler's turn to cross-examine Riley, he asked if it were possible for individuals tied to a gang—one an associate, the other a former member—to have stolen booze and food one night not for the benefit of a gang. The detective seemed befuddled and testified, "I have a feeling that this scenario is pretty much impossible to put together."
But Mendelson wasn't without his own powerful evidence. He chronicled numerous times the defendant visited the homes of a PEN1 "shot caller" and active members long after he claims he quit the gang. On other occasions, undercover cops saw the defendant in vehicles with active members. The DA, who was honored in 2012 by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for combating white-supremacist criminals, also said jail deputies recovered from a PEN1 inmate a 2008 roster of active gang members that included Mahoney.
The defendant dismisses Mendelson's evidence.
"[The record] reflects no gang activity whatsoever on petitioner's part [after 2002], only visiting with people in society who may have been active gang members," the appeal states. "There was nothing criminal here. . . . In sum, the totality of the circumstances in this case cries out for justice."
In late July, Mahoney's appeal landed in the Los Angeles courtroom of U.S. District Court Judge George H. Wu, a former prosecutor and state court judge appointed to the federal bench in 2007 by President George W. Bush. In coming months, the state Attorney General's office will critique the appeal, and a magistrate judge will make recommendations for Wu's consideration.