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Name: People v. Brown
Case #: C059314
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/28/2009

When a defendant indicates a desire to bring a motion to withdraw a plea, appointed counsel may decline to bring a meritless motion. Appellant pled no contest to possession of cocaine base for sale in exchange for a stipulated three-year prison term. At the plea hearing, appointed defense counsel indicated to the court that she had discussed the elements of the crime and possible defenses, appellant’s rights, and the consequences of the no contest plea. Prior to sentencing, appellant indicated he wished to withdraw his no contest plea as he had not had sufficient time to discuss the matter with his attorney. Separate counsel, who was appointed to investigate the merits of a motion to withdraw his plea, informed the court that there was no basis for the motion. He was relieved and the public defender was reappointed. The appellate court rejected the argument that counsel was required to file the motion, noting that as long as appellant is represented by counsel, the decision to file a motion to withdraw plea is left to counsel. (People v. Smith (1993) 6 Cal.4th 684, 696.)