How quickly do the wheels of justice turn in California?
This week the state's Supreme Court announced its decision relating to criminal acts--violent extortion of Little Saigon businesses--committed 18 years ago by Quang Minh Tran, a shot caller for the criminal street gang Vietnamese for Life (VFL).
Was it worth the wait for Tran?
Nope, the high court's ruling means this demented hoodlum will continue serving his 54 years to life sentence and, once that is over, began a second sentence of life with the possibility for parole.
For those who missed the implication: Tran, 36, has zero chance to ever leave his prison cell.
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Tran had tried to overturn his convictions that stemmed from a murderous 1997 Garden Grove crime spree that involved a TEC-9 automatic weapon, a terrible temper and two other gangs, the Oriental Play Boys and Vietnamese Boys. He accused the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) of improperly convicting him on anti-gang statutes by telling jurors about the violent conduct of other VFL members in 1993 and 1994.
But the Supreme Court sided with prosecutors, ruling that the gang evidence was not prejudicial to Tran's defense.
In conjunction with police in Garden Grove and Westminster, prosecutors like Ebrahim Baytieh in the OCDA have won convictions against almost all top Little Saigon gangsters who terrorized the community in the 1990s.
--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly