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The People v. Louis Cornell Holiday

February 15, 2013

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
LOUIS CORNELL HOLIDAY, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. Nos. SF097844A, MF032771A, SF116090A,

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

P. v. Holiday

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NOT TO BE PUBLISHED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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Defendant Louis Cornell Holiday entered into a plea arrangement with the trial court despite an objection by the People. Pursuant to the arrangement, defendant pleaded no contest to second degree robbery, attempted first degree robbery, first degree burglary, criminal threats, and receipt of stolen property. He also admitted certain enhancement allegations. Consistent with the plea arrangement, the trial court imposed a sentence of 19 years eight months in state prison, but stayed execution of the sentence and released defendant on his own recognizance with the understanding that if defendant personally appeared at the next scheduled hearing, defendant would be permitted to withdraw his plea and enter a new plea to lesser charges. In that event, the trial court would reduce his sentence to a term of eight years eight months in prison. But if defendant failed to appear at the next scheduled hearing, the trial court would execute the imposed sentence of 19 years eight months in prison.

Defendant did not personally appear at the next scheduled hearing, and the trial court executed the previously imposed sentence of 19 years eight months in prison. Defendant obtained a certificate of probable cause.

On appeal, defendant contends (1) the trial court violated defendant's right to due process when it executed sentence, because defendant did not willfully fail to appear; (2) in the alternative, defendant should be allowed to withdraw his plea because either he did not receive the benefit of his bargain or he entered into the plea agreement under a mistake of fact; and (3) an error in the abstract of judgment must be corrected.

The People counter that defendant's plea must be set aside because there was no negotiated plea agreement between defendant and the prosecution; instead, defendant's plea was improperly induced by promises from the trial court over objection from the prosecution.

We conclude the trial court entered into an unlawful judicial plea bargain. Because we conclude there was no valid plea agreement and we reverse with directions to vacate the plea, it is not necessary to address defendant's contentions or his requested remedy of specific performance and/or withdrawal of the plea.

BACKGROUND

Defendant pleaded no contest in 2005 to receipt of a stolen vehicle (Pen. Code, § 496d, subd. (a); San Joaquin County case No. SF097844A). The trial court suspended imposition of sentence and placed defendant on probation for five years with 300 days in county jail. Probation was revoked in 2007 and reinstated in 2008.

Subsequently, in consolidated San Joaquin County case Nos. MF032771A and SF116090A, the People charged defendant with receiving stolen property, attempted residential robbery, residential burglary and criminal threats. The People then filed a second amended information in case No. SF116090A, charging defendant with second degree robbery (count 1), attempted residential robbery (count 2), first degree residential burglary (count 3), criminal threats (count 4), and receipt of stolen property (count 5), with enhancement allegations that defendant personally used a firearm and committed the offenses while on bail.

At a hearing on September 13, 2011, in case No. SF116090A, defense counsel described the following plea arrangement that had been discussed in chambers: defendant would "plead to the sheet, the exposure on that is [19 years eight months in state prison]. He's going to be granted a stay for a week" and come back on September 21. After the prosecutor said he was unavailable that day, defense counsel and the trial court agreed on a September 22 date. Defense counsel then continued describing the terms of the plea arrangement: "when [defendant] comes back, Your Honor, he will be entitled or allowed to withdraw his plea and enter a new and different plea essentially to Count 1, SF116090A, PC 211, for upper term five [years], he'll plead to -- or admit -- or plead to [Penal Code section] 12022.5[, subdivision] (a) for three years, which is eight" and plead no contest to receipt of stolen property for a consecutive eight month term, and a concurrent term on the probation violation in case No. SF097844A, for a total term of eight years eight months.

The trial court told defendant: "And, Mr. Holiday, what's going to happen here today is over the People's objection -- 'cause they're objecting to me releasing you -- I am going to release you here today with a plea to what's called the sheet; you're going to be admitting all the charges and enhancements and I'm going to sentence you to the maximum term under that, and what's going to happen is as long as you do everything I tell you[,] you don't need . . . to worry. However, if you violate the law, pick up a new criminal offense or you do not appear in court on the time and date that I give you, you will not be resentenced and you'll receive the sentence that I'm imposing today."

After defendant said he understood, the trial court continued: "As long as you follow everything I tell you today, when you come back to court you'll be allowed to withdraw your plea on certain charges, certain charges you will not, as far as negotiation, and your sentence will be reduced to a term of eight years, eight months." Defendant again said he understood and had enough time to talk to his attorney. The trial court then commenced a plea colloquy in which defendant pleaded no contest to second degree robbery (Pen. Code, § 211),*fn1 attempted first degree robbery (ยงยง 664/212.5), first degree ...


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