Skip to content
Name: People v. Watts
Case #: F045778
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/27/2005

Appellant entered into a plea bargain under the terms of which he admitted a prior conviction for a violation of Penal Code section 12031(a)(2)(C), but reserved the right to argue at sentencing that the prior conviction did not qualify as a strike. The trial court rejected his argument and sentenced him in accordance with the plea bargain. On appeal, he argued that the court erred in denying his motion to strike the strike because his plea to the prior conviction did not constitute an admission of all the elements of section 186.22(a). [Section 12031 (a)(2)(C) is not a felony unless the offender is a member of a criminal street gang as defined by section 186.22.] Respondent argued that the plea was an admission of each of the elements of the offense. However, section 12031 is an offense which may or may not be a strike depending on the circumstances surrounding its commission. Under this record, the appellate court could not determine if the offense qualified as a strike. At the time Watts was convicted of the prior conviction, Robles had not been decided, and so it is unclear what he intended to admit at the time. Therefore, the record does not support the conclusion that the prior conviction was a strike. Remand is required as the strike allegation was adjudicated by plea rather than by trial.