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People v. Watson

Supreme Court of California
637 P.2d. 279 (1981)


Facts

Robert Watson (defendant) became intoxicated at a bar and then drove away in his car. Watson sped through a red light, narrowly missing one car, and then accelerated toward another intersection in which he crashed into a sedan. Three passengers were ejected from the sedan, and a woman and her six-year-old daughter were killed. Watson’s speed was estimated at 84 miles per hour immediately prior to the accident and at 70 miles per hour when his car hit the other vehicle, in a 35-mile-per-hour zone. Watson’s blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit. Watson was charged with two counts of second-degree murder and two counts of vehicular manslaughter. Watson’s motion to have the murder charges dismissed was granted by the court and the state appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Richardson, J.)

Dissent (Bird, C.J.)

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