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Name: People v. Hampton
Case #: C081038
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 11/01/2019

A trial court’s dismissal of a criminal case in its entirety is a final judgment and divests the court of jurisdiction to vacate the dismissal. Defendant was charged with criminal threats and other offenses. In two separate actions, the prosecution alleged that the new offenses violated defendant’s probation. The prosecution then elected to proceed only on the probation violations, and moved to dismiss the new case. The trial court granted the prosecution’s motion and dismissed the case. The next day the parties informed the court that a resolution of the probation violation case had been reached, which involved “reactivating” the dismissed case. To implement the resolution, the trial court vacated its dismissal of the criminal threats case, and the prosecution filed an amended information in the case. The defendant then pleaded no contest to several counts in the revived case, and the court granted probation. Six months later, defendant moved to withdraw his plea, arguing the trial court lacked jurisdiction to “reactivate” the dismissed case. The motion was denied. Defendant later violated his probation and was sentenced to prison. On appeal, defendant argued the trial court lacked jurisdiction to take his plea because it had no power to reinstate a dismissed case. Held: Reversed. The dismissal of an entire criminal action is a final order that divests the trial court of jurisdiction to reinstate the case. The prosecution and defendant may not stipulate to vacate the dismissal of an entire case in order to implement a plea bargain. Had the court dismissed only some of the counts, the court may have retained jurisdiction of the case, and therefore may have retained authority to reinstate those counts. But here, the new case was dismissed in its entirety, which deprived the trial court of jurisdiction to reinstate it.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: