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Name: Amin v. Superior Court (Orange County)
Case #: G050191
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 06/23/2015
Summary

The People cannot rescind plea agreement that resolved all incidents mentioned in police report based on mistake of fact where the prosecutor knew she had limited knowledge about the police report when she entered into the agreement. Amin was charged with misdemeanor offenses arising out of his act of videotaping underneath a woman’s dress in a grocery store. He entered into a negotiated plea. The prosecutor expressly agreed that the plea resolved all incidents referenced in the police report, charged and uncharged. However, the prosecutor had not fully read the police report and did not see that Amin was suspected of inappropriately touching two 12-year-old girls. After the police gathered additional evidence, Amin was subsequently charged with felony child molestation. He filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that all incidents mentioned in the reports had been resolved by his plea. The trial court denied motion, concluding that the plea agreement was subject to rescission based on the prosecutor’s mistake of fact. Amin sought writ relief. Held: Relief granted. Assuming the mistake-of-fact doctrine applies in the context of a criminal plea bargain, the Court of Appeal concluded that the doctrine did not apply in this case. A person in a contract dispute who is claiming a unilateral mistake of fact must establish certain facts, including that the person did not bear the risk of the mistake. Here, the prosecutor did bear the risk because she was willing to go through with the agreement even though she knew she had only limited knowledge of the contents of the police report and she contemplated that that the report might contain references to felony sex crimes when she entered the agreement. In order to preserve the fairness and integrity of the plea bargaining process, the court felt bound to hold the prosecutor to the promises made.