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Name: People v. Clancey
Case #: H036501
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 01/10/2012
Subsequent History: Rev. granted 4/11/12 (S200158)

Judicial plea bargaining is prohibited; whereas the court is permitted to give an indicated sentence. At a resolution conference, over the objection of the prosecution, appellant pled as charged, admitting the “strike” allegation, in anticipation that the court would grant an oral Romero motion and sentence defendant to five years in state prison. The People appealed, contending the court engaged in prohibited judicial plea bargaining. The appellate court set forth two principles governing the distinction between judicial plea bargaining and the giving of an indicated sentence. 1) An offer by the court that is contingent on a defendant pleading guilty or no contest is not a proper indicated sentence because it induces a defendant to plead guilty/no contest and a trial court cannot offer an inducement in return for a plea of guilty/no contest. A proper indicated sentence applies whether or not a defendant opts to go to trial. 2) An offer that provides a defendant with the option of withdrawing his guilty/no contest/admission plea if the court learns of information that causes it to sentence other than the indicated sentence is not a proper indicated sentence. Here, the trial court induced the pleas and advised defendant he could withdraw his pleas if he was sentenced to other than the indicated sentence. As such, the court engaged in improper judicial plea bargaining and the judgment was reversed. [Ed. Note: There was a lengthy dissent in this case.]