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Name: K.R. v. Superior Court (Sacramento County)
Case #: C079548
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 12/30/2015
Subsequent History: Review granted 3/9/2016: S231709

An Arbuckle right to be sentenced by the judge who accepted a plea arises only when the record shows that the plea was given in expectation of and in reliance upon the sentence being imposed by the same judge. At a settlement conference before Judge Sapunor, K.R., a delinquent minor, admitted two probation violations with the understanding that he would be released from juvenile hall in one week and that his case would be transferred to Clark County, Nevada, where his mom lived. The disposition hearing was scheduled for one week later. When the parties returned, Judge Arguelles presided over the disposition hearing. He disapproved the proposed disposition and stated his intent to commit the minor to DJJ. The minor filed a petition for writ of mandate, claiming an Arbuckle violation, and sought remand to Judge Sapunor for disposition. Held: Petition denied. In People v. Arbuckle (1978) 22 Cal.3d 749, the court held, based on the record in the case, that a plea agreement was entered in reliance upon sentence being imposed by the judge who took the plea. However, it also made a broader pronouncement that, as a general principle, it is an implicit term of the plea that the judge who accepts the plea will impose the sentence. After analyzing subsequent Court of Appeal decisions and In re Mark L. (1983) 34 Cal.3d 171, the Court of Appeal here concluded that it has long been settled law that an Arbuckle right to be sentenced by the same judge who accepted a negotiated plea does not arise as a matter of general principle, but only when the facts of a given case show the plea was given in reliance upon this occurring. The fact that an agreed upon disposition was part of the plea does not give rise to an Arbuckle right to be sentenced by the same judge who took the plea. The record in this case did not reflect an understanding that Judge Sapunor would preside at the minor’s disposition hearing. [Editor’s Note: The Court of Appeal also discussed procedural requirements in writ proceedings, including requirements for exhibits attached to a writ petition.]