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The People v. Vontre Knight

November 28, 2012

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
VONTRE KNIGHT, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. No. 10F04539)

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

P. v. Knight

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NOT TO BE PUBLISHED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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.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 found defendant Vontre Knight guilty of evading a peace officer while driving with willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others and property (Veh. Code, § 2800.2, subd. (a)--count one) and evading a peace officer while driving on a highway in a direction opposite to that in which traffic lawfully moves (former Veh. Code, § 2800.4--count two). Following the trial court's finding that defendant was previously convicted of four strike offenses, defendant was sentenced to an indeterminate term of 25 years to life.

On appeal, defendant contends the trial court erred in refusing to give a unanimity instruction. He also contends the court erred in imposing booking and classification fees without first determining his ability to pay those fees. Neither contention has merit.

Defendant further contends the judgment must be modified to reflect an additional day of custody credit. The People concede the issue, we accept their concession, and order the judgment amended. We shall affirm the judgment as amended.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On July 12, 2010, Sacramento Police Officer Matthew McPhail, on duty, in full uniform and driving a marked car, heard a horn honking repeatedly. McPhail then saw two vehicles turn from westbound Second Avenue on northbound Franklin Boulevard. The lead vehicle was a Chevrolet SUV (driven by defendant); the second was a Cadillac sedan. Both vehicles were speeding. It appeared to McPhail that the Cadillac was chasing the SUV and honking its horn; McPhail followed the vehicles. Both vehicles soon made a right turn against a red light, then immediately turned right onto southbound Highway 99.

Officer McPhail continued to follow both vehicles and watched them move from the number four lane to the number two lane, then quickly move back to the right side of the roadway. In an effort to stop both vehicles, McPhail activated his overhead lights. The Cadillac slowed slightly and moved one lane to the left. Defendant increased his speed.

Officer McPhail increased his speed and pulled his patrol car behind defendant's SUV. He was receiving information regarding the vehicles from "dispatch" when he saw defendant swerve out of the dedicated exit lane at Fruitridge and back into the southbound freeway lane. McPhail then turned on his siren. Defendant remained in the right-most lane and sped up to approximately 70 miles per hour.

As defendant approached the Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard overpass, he "aggressively" slowed the SUV and made an "abrupt" right turn, leaving skid marks on the highway. Defendant then crossed over the on-ramp freeway entrance onto southbound Highway 99. Defendant left the roadway through a narrow opening between a large tree and a freeway guard rail. Defendant then drove the SUV through the landscaped area inside the circular freeway on-ramp.

Officer McPhail did not follow defendant through the landscaped area, so there were moments when McPhail could not see the SUV. McPhail did, however, see the SUV leave the landscaped area and enter the one-way freeway on-ramp traveling opposite the direction of traffic. Defendant drove the SUV against traffic for approximately one-third the length of the on-ramp. A Land Rover had to swerve to avoid colliding with the SUV.

Defendant then sped over the Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard overpass. And, while Officer McPhail drove nearly 65 miles per hour in pursuit of defendant, defendant continued to increase the distance between himself and McPhail. Defendant then turned the SUV onto 35th Avenue and McPhail again lost sight of him for a few seconds. When he saw the SUV again, it was stopped in front of a residence approximately three houses north of the intersection at Mascot and ...


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