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Name: People v. Kelly
Case #: S133114
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 11/27/2006

Appointed appellate counsel filed a brief pursuant to People v. Wende in the Sixth District Court of Appeal. Appellant was notified of his right to file a supplemental brief, and did so. The Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment in an opinion which said that it had read and considered the defendant’s written argument, but concluded that there were no arguable issues on appeal. Appellant then filed, in pro per, a petition in the California Supreme Court seeking review of the judgment of the Court of Appeal, based on its failure to address the contentions set forth in his supplemental brief. The Supreme Court granted review and appointed new appellate counsel. The Court concluded that the judgment in a Wende appeal disposes of a cause and therefore must be in writing with reasons stated. Because the defendant has the right to file a supplemental brief, the appellate court must consider his contentions and the reasons that they fail. “Significant efficiency” can be achieved if the appellate courts also include in their opinion a brief summary of the case and facts. The appellate courts are directed to include this information in their opinions in Wende appeals, and encouraged to include any other information from the record which may be relevant in further challenges to the judgment. The appellate opinion in this case did not satisfy the constitutional requirement of a decision in writing with reasons stated. Rather than remanding, the Court reviewed the record and affirmed the judgment with reasons stated.