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Name: People v. McElwee
Case #: B177372
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 05/03/2005
Subsequent History: Rev. den. 8/10/05

Appellant pleaded guilty in 1984 to second degree murder and was sentenced to a term of 15 years to life in state prison, pursuant to a plea bargain where a first degree murder allegation was dismissed. In 2004, the prosecutor appeared at his parole hearing and argued against a parole date, arguing that the crime was a cold, calculated “execution-style” murder. Appellant was denied a release date. Appellant contended that the prosecutor thereby violated the plea agreement because he was arguing that the crime was first degree murder. The appellate court affirmed the denial of appellant’s writ of error coram nobis. The only promise made to appellant was that the charge would be reduced to second degree murder and that a firearm use allegation would be stricken. There was nothing in the plea bargain which prohibited the prosecutor from accurately describing the crime at a future parole hearing, nor is it likely that appellant would have rejected the plea bargain if he knew that the prosecutor might come to a parole hearing and describe the crime accurately.