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Name: People v. Breslin
Case #: A132443
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 05/16/2012

Recantation by the victim does not support a motion to withdraw plea. In exchange for a promise of probation and dismissal of other counts, appellant pled guilty to spousal abuse. Prior to sentencing, she moved to withdraw her plea, contending that it was not knowing and intelligent because, at the time she entered her plea, she was unaware that the victim would recant and it was involuntary as a result of IAC, who failed to interview the victim. The appellate court found no abuse of discretion in the denial of the motion. Penal Code section 1018 provides that a defendant may withdraw a guilty plea if good cause is shown. To establish good cause, defendant must show by clear and convincing evidence that she was operating under any factor overcoming exercise of free judgment and that absent such a factor she would not have entered the plea. Here, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in placing little value on the victim’s recantation subsequent to appellant’s entry of the guilty plea and the minimal weight placed on the recantation was relevant in the trial court’s finding that appellant failed to meet her burden of establishing factors overcoming free judgment. The court also found that there was no adequate showing of ineffective assistance as a result of counsel’s failure to interview the victim. In view of appellant’s history of domestic violence against the same victim and existing protective orders, counsel’s failure to interview was viewed as a reasonable tactical decision. Even if counsel was ineffective by failing to interview the victim, appellant failed to show that a reasonable probability existed that absent the alleged ineffectiveness, she would not have pled guilty because the evidence against her was not weak, and she received a favorable resolution with her guilty plea.