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Curriculum Vitae Details on the path I took

California State University, Stanislaus, Turlock, CA

Ed.D, 2014

Concentration: Street Gangs
Dissertation: Mexican American/Chicano gang members’ voice on social control in the context of school and community: A critical ethnographic case study in Stockton, California

Masters of Social Work, 2003

Concentration: Deviant behavior
Thesis: An evaluation of a substance-abuse treatment program for criminal offenders.

Bachelors, 2001


Teaching Experience Instructor

Heald College, 2008-2012

Taught Corrections, Police Procedures Theory and Practice; Juvenile Delinquency; Victimology; Introduction into Criminology; Criminology; Organized Crime, Street Gangs & Terrorism.

Teaching Assistant (TA)
California State University, Stanislaus, Turlock, CA: Taught Cultural Diversity

Personal Experience:

My involvement with gangs spans fifty years, beginning with my initiation into a street gang at age thirteen. In 1973, at age twenty-one, I became a member of the Nuestra Familia (NF) prison gang while serving time at Deuel Vocational Institution (DVI). I left the NF after being released from prison in 1976. In the course of my criminal career which resulted in going in and out of prison for approximately twenty-three years, I witnessed the proliferation of gangs and observed all the superficial changes between old and modern gangs. On April 2, 1996, I was released from prison for the last time and changed the trajectory of my life. However, given my indeph involvement in both street and prison gangs, and my many years of incarceration in different jails and prisons throughout the state of California, Texas, Washington, and Mexico, I developed a unique and thorough insight into the gang phenomena. I believe my perspective is much more realistic than an academic or law enforcement point of view given that I spent over two decades inside jails, prisons, and was a gang member and/or associated with gangs for many years.


Attended the three day National Gang Crime Research Center (NGCRC) Conference held in Chicago Illinois August 6-8, 2018

Training sessions I attended during the three day conference:

  • “Street Gangs Well Defined” conducted by Kenneth Davis, Detective, Yonkers Police Department, Gang/Narcotics Unit, Yonkers, NY
  • “Patron Saints of the Mexican Cartels and Gangs” Conducted by Robert Almonte, Gang Specialist, San Antonio, TX
  • “Gang Prosecution in Cook County” conducted by Brian R. Holmes, Supervisor, Gang Prosecution Unit, Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, Chicago Illinois
  • “Asian Gangs, The New gangs on the block”
  • “MS-13: Gang of Gangs"

Professional Experience

I have been qualified on over 90 cases nationally to testify as an expert witness. Below are just a few cases I have testified in addition to some of the work I have conducted related specifically to gangs:

  • In my very first case as a gang expert, I testified in Siskiyou County in a Death Penalty case involving an alleged White Supremacy gang. The gang allegations were dismissed after my testimony at the preliminary hearing.
  • In October 2013, I testified in Stanislaus County on an alleged Norteño gang murder case involving one adult and two Juveniles who were prosecuted as adults. All three defendants were found not guilty of the gang enhancements.
  • I again testified in Stanislaus County in November 2014 where a defendant had been charged with being a gang member under a gang injunction. The defendant was found not guilty and released from the gang injunction as a result of the not guilty verdict.
  • In December 2014, I testified in a homicide case in Stanislaus County where gang allegations were filed. The jury was unable to reach a verdict. Defendants eventually pled guilty to lesser charges.
  • Testified in Tulare County in December 2014 on an Asian Blood gang case. All three defendants were found guilty of the gang allegations.
  • Have testified in Crips, Bloods, & Blood Nation gang cases in California &Pennsylvania and consulted in a R.I.C.O. case in Miami, Florida where the government alleged the defendants were members of the Bloods.
  • Consulted on a R.I.C.O. Prison Gang Case in Albuquerque NM.
  • Testified in a R.I.C.O Case in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania involving the Blood Nation.
  • Consulted in a R.I.C.O. CASE involving MaraSalvatruchas gang members in Newark, NJ.
  • Currently involved in three Death Penalty cases. Two in Florida and one in Bakersfield.
  • Testified in a Tallahassee Florida Death Penalty Case where I gave my opinion that the four murders in the case were committed by the Zeta Cartel. The Jury hung. Case set to be retired in November
  • Consulted on a R.I.C.O. case in Miami, Florida
  • Currently involved in a R.I.C.O. case in San Jose California
  • Currently involved in a Prison Gang California Death Penalty post conviction case
  • Working on a number of death penalty cases.

Have testified as a gang expert or am currently consulting on the following cases in the counties/states listed below:

  • Alameda County
  • Contra Costa County
  • Dade County, Miami, Florida Murder Case
  • Dade County, Miami, Florida RICO Case
  • Washington County, Hillsborough, Oregon
  • Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (Blood RICO CASE)
  • Kane County, St Charles Illinois (Cartel Case)
  • Kern County
  • Lassen County
  • Leon County, Tallahassee, Florida (2 Death Penalty Cases)
  • Los Angeles County
  • Marin County California
  • Marin County Florida
  • Mendocino, County
  • Merced County
  • Mesa County, Grand Junction, CO
  • Placer County
  • Salt Lake County
  • Santa Barbara County
  • Santa Clara County
  • San Diego County (Death Penalty Case)
  • San Francisco County
  • San Joaquin County
  • San Mateo County
  • Santa Cruz County
  • Sacramento County
  • Skagit County, Mt. Vernon, Washington
  • Siskiyou County (Death Penalty Case)
  • Sixth District Court-Manti Sanpete County, State of Utah (Death Penalty Case)
  • Stanislaus County (Death Penalty Case)
  • Tulare County
  • Utah County, Provo, Utah
  • Yolo County

I have participated in aiding lawyers in the preparation of testimony, written reports, and have given opinions on well over 750 gang cases and have consulted on and testified on numerous capital punishment cases. I have consulted with the Federal Public Defenders Office on a post-conviction case out of Sacramento, California and on three post-conviction cases in Oregon. As indicated previously, I have consulted on numerous R.I.C.O. cases including a Syndicato Nuevo Mexico case in Las Cruses, New Mexico and have testified on numerous Immigration ases in California where the government alleged the defendant was a gang member.

Criminals & Gang members Anonymous (CGA):

I formed the first and only CGA group on the streets in Stockton CA. CGA is a 12-Step program for gang members and criminals alike that addresses problems on the subject of gang & criminal involvement. Group membership is constantly evolving. As a result, new members bring with them a wealth of current information, which keeps me abreast of gang trends, both locally and on a state level. 1998-On-Going

Founder of Jonah Foundation:

A sober living facility that provided counseling and sustenance for ex- offenders. It was through the group counseling and rap sessions that I developed meaningful contacts with the participants, all of whom had just been released from prison or jail before coming to Jonah. These men were attempting to disassociate themselves from the gang/criminal lifestyle. To date, many of them continue to share with me valuable gang and other criminogenic trends. 2006-2008

Program Director of a Day Reporting Center:

In 2008, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation awarded BI, Inc. a contract to operate a facility targeting high-risk offenders. The intent of this program was to alter the behavior of the offender by using evidence-based practices. As the day-to-day operations manager, I was in charge of ensuring that the safety and security of my employees and our clients. In the process of my daily interactions with clients who were just recently released from California State Prisons, I was fortunate to gather intelligence concerning gang trends. 2008-2010


Gang Involvement: A Look at Why Minors Join Gangs and How WE Can Reach Our Youth. The 41st National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE), Dallas, Texas 2012

Seeing Ourselves Emancipating Our Dialogue: Research as Hope From Incarceration Today And Tomorrow. Presented at the 2 nd Annual Alliance for Multilingual Multicultural Education Conference: San Antonio, Texas 2011

University of Davis Davis, California: April, 2016

Gang Awareness Workshops I Facilitated:

  • Presented at the 2016 CACJ/CPDA Capital Case Defense Seminar in San Diego, CA
  • Merced Unified School District: Merced, CA
  • Stockton Unified School District: Stockton, CA
  • Roseville School District: Roseville, CA
  • Parks & Recreation Department: Stockton, CA
  • Monterey County Juvenile Hall: Salinas, CA
  • San Francisco County Juvenile Hall: San Francisco, CA
  • Alameda Juvenile Hall: Oakland, CA
  • San Joaquin Delta College: Stockton, CA
  • CSU Stanislaus: Turlock, CA
  • Santa Maria Unified School District, Santa Maria, CA
  • Los Prietos Boys Camp, Santa Barbara, CA


WM. Michael Whelan, JR.
Attorney at Law
1000 Brannan Street Suite 400
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 874-7081
R.I.C.O. Case

Mauricio Padilla
14 NE First Ave, 10th Floor 
Miami, FL 33132
Telephone:  (305) 856-1777
Death Penalty Case: Mitigation

Amber Lunsford
Attorney at Law
980 Ninth Street, 16th Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814
Triple Homicide Case

Law Offices Of
Michael A. Graves Public Defender
Morris Carranza, Assistant Public Defender
Marin County Florida
Fifth Judicial Circuit of Florida
Death Penalty Case: Mitigation

Denny Maison
Attorney at Law Jeffrey M. Jones, P.C.
1840 W Nob Hill SE
Salem, OR 97302
Phone:  (503) 588-2687
Homicide: Post Conviction Appeal Case

Highly Recommended What others have said.

"His story and ability to relate to our clients is a tremendous asset to any defense lawyer."

"I have worked with Dr. De La Cruz on several cases. His unique experience has proved invaluable..."

"Dr. De La Cruz’s unique “insider” knowledge and perspective is extraordinarily powerful..."

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