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The People v. Patrick Lee Conley

May 2, 2013


(Super. Ct. No. CRF113234) APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Yolo County, Stephen L. Mock, Judge.

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



Appointed counsel for defendant Patrick Lee Conley asked this court to review the record to determine whether there are any arguable issues on appeal. (People v. Wende (1979) 25 Cal.3d 436 (Wende).) Finding no arguable error that would result in a disposition more favorable to defendant, we will affirm the judgment.

We partially publish this decision, however, to address issues raised in a petition for rehearing that are likely to recur. On November 6, 2012, California voters approved Proposition 36, which modifies the three strikes law. After we filed our decision in this case, defendant filed a petition for rehearing seeking the benefit of the change in law. He asked us to vacate his sentence under the three strikes law and remand the matter for a new sentencing hearing.

We denied his petition for rehearing, concluding that he is not entitled to be sentenced under amended Penal Code section 1170.12. We then granted rehearing on our own motion to more fully explain our reasoning.


California Highway Patrol Officer Keerat Lal observed defendant, at about 5:20 p.m., picking up tools in the middle of County Road 27 in Yolo County. Defendant's parked pickup truck and attached utility trailer partially blocked a lane of the two-lane road.

Defendant appeared intoxicated. His eyes were red and watery and his gait was unsteady as he moved to pick up the tools. Officer Lal estimated that defendant was about six feet tall and weighed 210 pounds.

Officer Lal asked defendant to move to the side of the road, but had to ask three times before defendant complied. Defendant said his tool box fell from the bed of his truck. Officer Lal asked for defendant's driver's license, proof of insurance, and registration. Defendant said his license was suspended and he did not have proof of insurance or registration. Defendant's speech was slurred and Officer Lal could smell alcohol on defendant's breath.

Defendant claimed his son was driving the truck and left to get gas when the truck ran out of fuel. When Officer Lal pointed out that the truck was still running, defendant admitted he was the driver. Defendant told the officer that he consumed three to four 8-ounce cans of Four Loko malt liquor at his son's house, which was about 15 to 20 minutes away.

Defendant failed a series of field sobriety tests and also took two preliminary alcohol screening tests. His breath samples revealed a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .167 percent and .171 percent. Officer Lal arrested defendant for driving under the influence.

Defendant refused to submit to a chemical test after he was arrested. His blood was drawn at a hospital at around 6:19 p.m., and his BAC at the time of the draw was .19 percent.

An expert testified that a six foot tall, 210 pound person who consumed 3 to 4 Four Loko's and had his last drink at 4:45 p.m. would have a BAC of .10 percent. A similar individual with a BAC of .19 percent at 6:19 p.m. would have a BAC well over .08 percent between 5:15 p.m. and 5:20 p.m.

In a recorded call from his jail cell, defendant told his girlfriend that he did not know whether the officer asked why his tools were in the middle of the road because defendant "was drunk as fuck right there."

The prosecutor and defense counsel stipulated that undated Department of Motor Vehicle documents listed defendant's height as six foot three inches tall and his weight as 180 pounds. A toxicologist testifying for the defense opined that if a six foot three inch tall and 180 pound person drank an entire 23.5 ounce Four Loko at 5:19 p.m. and had a BAC of .19 percent at 6:19 p.m., then his BAC before drinking the Four Loko at 5:19 p.m. would be .08 percent with a margin of error.

Defendant pleaded no contest to driving with a suspended license with three prior violations within the last five years (Veh. Code, § 14601.2, subd. (a)), failure to provide proof of insurance (Veh. Code, § 16028), and driving an unregistered vehicle (Veh. Code, § 4000, subd. (a)(1)). Following a jury trial, defendant was convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol (Veh. Code, § 23152, subd. (a)) and driving with a BAC of .08 percent or more (Veh. Code, § 23152, subd. (b)), with enhancements for refusing to take the chemical test (Veh. Code, § 23578).

In a bifurcated proceeding, the jury sustained allegations that defendant had four prior convictions for violating Vehicle Code section 23152 (Veh. Code, § 23550), three prior prison terms (Pen. Code, § 667.5),*fn2 and two prior strike convictions (ยงยง 667, subds. (d) and (e), 1170.12). The trial court denied defendant's motion to dismiss one or both strike allegations and sentenced defendant to 25 years to life plus three consecutive one-year terms. The ...

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