Appeal from a judgment of the Superior Court of Orange County, Patrick Donahue, Judge. (Super. Ct. No. 11NF0263)
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Fybel, J.
CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION
Defendant Arthur Lee Lucas II twice ran his car into the car driven by his ex-girlfriend after they had engaged in a screaming match in the middle of a public street. Defendant was convicted of aggravated assault and sentenced to a total of 14 years in prison. Finding no merit to defendant's arguments on appeal, we affirm the judgment.
Defendant argues the trial court erred by imposing a five-year sentencing enhancement under Penal Code section 667, subdivision (a), because his previous serious felony conviction was reduced to a misdemeanor and dismissed. (All further statutory references are to the Penal Code.) Defendant contends that the prior offense was therefore not a felony conviction for which a sentencing enhancement could be imposed. We publish this opinion because, based on our analysis of the state Constitution and the relevant statutes, we hold a serious felony conviction must be treated as such when imposing a sentence enhancement for a later-committed crime, despite the reduction of the previous serious felony to a misdemeanor.
For the reasons we explain post, we also reject defendant's arguments relating to the trial court's pretrial review of the personnel records of the arresting officer and claimed instructional error. Finally, the trial court did not err by failing to dismiss one of defendant's prior serious felony convictions for purposes of sentencing under the "Three Strikes" Law (Pen. Code, §§ 667, subds. (b)-(e), 1170.12).
STATEMENT OF FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Defendant and Stacy McGowan dated on and off, starting in 1999. On several occasions between 2001 and their separation in early 2010, defendant assaulted McGowan, threatened her, yelled obscenities at her, or stalked her.
On January 19, 2011, McGowan was walking down a street when defendant pulled up in his car and demanded, in an angry tone of voice, to talk to her. McGowan told defendant she could not talk at that time. Later that afternoon, McGowan saw defendant in her rearview mirror as she pulled out of the driveway of her place of work. Defendant pulled his car behind and then alongside of McGowan's car, and signaled for McGowan to pull over. McGowan sped away, but defendant continued to follow her.
When McGowan stopped at a red light, defendant pulled up alongside of her car, and yelled angrily. When McGowan told defendant to leave her alone, he responded, "I'm going to kill you, bitch. I'm going to kill you." McGowan got out of her car, approached defendant's car, and demanded, "what the fuck you want with me? Why you keep bothering me? Leave me alone." Defendant continued to say, "I'm going to get you, bitch." He grabbed her by the hair and pulled her by the arm into his car; McGowan thought defendant was going to bite her. She swung her arms and grabbed defendant or hit him in the face. McGowan was able to free herself.
McGowan got back into her car and drove away. Defendant tried to use his car to block her, but she maneuvered her car around his. As she drove away, McGowan felt her car get hit from behind. Her car stalled in the middle of the street. Defendant's car then hit the side of McGowan's car. McGowan exited her car and saw defendant walking quickly toward her; he was "angry."
At that moment, the police arrived. Buena Park Police Officer Ron Catanzariti was one of the responding officers. Officer Catanzariti noted that defendant had a "moderate odor of alcoholic beverage on his breath and person," but, "after a quick evaluation, I realized that it wasn't to the point where it could impair [defendant's] driving ability." Defendant told Officer Catanzariti that McGowan had attacked him and had rammed her car into his car, ...