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Name: In re Prescott
Case #: D047936
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 04/03/2007

Reversal was required where counsel revealed confidential communications and failed to advocate for appellant by telling the court that there was no reason for withdrawal of the guilty plea. Following his conviction for corporal injury to a spouse, appellant petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus challenging his conviction on the ground that he was denied his Sixth Amendment right to assistance of counsel during a critical stage of his criminal proceedings. He contended that his right to assistance of counsel was violated when he indicated a desire to withdraw his guilty plea and his court-appointed counsel provided a report to the court concluding that there was no basis for withdrawal of the plea, as well as disclosing a confidential communication between him and appellant. [Counsel stated that appellant was not impaired by medication prior to the entry of the plea, but took the plea bargain because it was in his best interest.] The appellate court concluded that counsel violated appellant’s attorney-client privilege by revealing the content of his conversations, and that appellant was deprived of effective assistance of counsel when his attorney failed to advocate on his behalf and advocated against his interests. Such a complete denial of counsel during a critical stage in the proceedings necessitates automatic reversal.