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Name: People v. Caravajal
Case #: C053507
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 12/17/2007

Absent a clear indication that a defendant’s motion to withdraw the plea is based on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, the trial court’s failure to hold a Marsden hearing cannot be addressed on appeal unless a certificate of probable cause has issued. Appellant pled no contest to receiving stolen property and possession of a controlled substance and admitted a prior “strike” conviction. At the sentencing hearing, he moved to withdraw his plea on the grounds that he had not understood various consequences of his plea. The trial court appointed alternate counsel to represent appellant to “look into this issue,” but alternate counsel subsequently informed the court he found no legal basis for withdrawal of the plea. The appellate court found that under the circumstances of the case, there was no basis to construe appellant’s motion to withdraw as a Marsden motion and that appellant’s claims were actually an attack on the validity of the plea. Since appellant had failed to obtain a certificate of probable cause, his appeal was dismissed.