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Name: People v. Alexander
Case #: B256482
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 01/16/2015

Defendant cannot show good cause to withdraw his plea if he loses the anticipated benefit to his plea bargain because he refuses to cooperate. Alexander entered into a plea agreement in which he agreed to plead no contest to possession of a controlled substance in exchange for dismissal of two possession for sale charges and a referral to drug court. He was warned that a failure to complete drug court could result in a maximum sentence of three years in custody. Once in drug court, Alexander said he did not want to proceed because he had another unrelated case pending on appeal that he believed would be compromised by participating in drug court. Although the prosecutor offered to have the unrelated case dismissed if he proceeded in drug court, Alexander rejected the offer, refused drug court, and attempted to further negotiate with the prosecutor. Back in the trial court, the court allowed Alexander to choose between a county jail sentence or probation. Alexander refused both options and asked to withdraw his guilty plea. The court did not permit him to withdraw his plea and sentenced Alexander to 16 months in county jail. Alexander appealed. Held: Affirmed. Alexander argued that the sentence imposed was illegal because it violated the terms of the plea bargain. However, the Court of Appeal found that “[t]he only reason defendant did not receive the disposition bargained for is his own refusal to cooperate.” Although a court possesses discretion to set aside a guilty plea for good cause, Alexander’s “refusal to cooperate” and “manipulative conduct” did not constitute good cause to withdraw his plea.