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The People v. Randall Watanabe

September 6, 2012

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
RANDALL WATANABE, JR., DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. No. 10F01846)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mauro , J.

P. v. Watanabe CA3

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

A jury convicted defendant Randall Watanabe, Jr., of driving under the influence of alcohol and driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or more. The trial court sentenced him to six years in prison and awarded 201 days of presentence credit (134 actual and 67 conduct).

Defendant contends on appeal that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to raise a Miranda*fn1 challenge to statements he made to the police. In a supplemental brief, he contends that the prospective application of the Criminal Justice Realignment Act of 2011 (Realignment Act) (Stats. 2011, ch. 15) violates his right to equal protection of the law.

We will affirm the judgment.

BACKGROUND

Hannah Stringer was riding in the front passenger seat of her sister's Ford Mustang on March 7, 2010, at around 9:30 p.m. Hannah's sister was driving the Mustang on Elk Grove Boulevard. While the Mustang was stopped at the intersection of Elk Grove Boulevard and Elk Grove-Florin Road, Hannah saw a gold, older model Cadillac speed through the intersection from the opposite direction. Hannah later saw the Cadillac on the side of the road, straddling the southbound lane and a ditch.

As the Mustang slowly approached, the Cadillac abruptly pulled out in front of the Stringers. The Cadillac then sat in the road for about 45 seconds before making a U-turn into the northbound lane. Hannah saw the Cadillac cut off two more cars before heading southbound on the road.

The Cadillac drove southbound in the northbound lane, pulled up next to the Mustang, and then moved behind it. The Cadillac again pulled up next to the Mustang at a stop sign. Hannah saw the driver and something on the backseat floor large enough to rise slightly above the backseat.

After pausing at the stop sign, the Cadillac pulled forward and started to drive in circles around the Mustang. The Cadillac drove about eight times around the Mustang, then circled twice and drove southbound on East Stockton Boulevard toward Grant Line Road. As the Cadillac drove south on East Stockton Boulevard, it swerved in and out of the northbound lane, "playing chicken" with oncoming traffic. The Cadillac did circles in the intersection at Grant Line Road. Hannah lost sight of the Cadillac as it drove off to Kammerer Road.

Hannah described the driver as a stocky, light-skinned Hispanic male between 25 to 30 years old, wearing a baseball cap backwards. She was unable to identify defendant as the driver, but she said a picture of defendant's father looked like an older version of the driver.

That same night, Elk Grove Police Officer Chris Morrow responded to a dispatch about a reckless driver near the intersection of Grant Line Road and East Stockton Boulevard. The driver was reported as a light-skinned Hispanic or white male with a backwards baseball cap, driving a gold Cadillac and doing doughnuts in the middle of the intersection. At 9:51 p.m., Officer Morrow received a dispatch ...


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