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Name: People v. Perez
Case #: C051800
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 03/07/2007
Subsequent History: Grant & Hold rev. gr. 6/13/07: S151751

A defendant who seeks a statement of reasonable grounds for appeal which was not timely sought may apply, where certain conditions are met, to the appellate court for application of the doctrine of “constructive filing” announced in In re Benoit for notices of appeal. Following appellant’s guilty plea sentencing, trial counsel filed a timely notice of appeal which stated that appellant appealed from the error in denying appellant’s motion for the jury to determine whether appellant’s prior conviction was a strike, the error in proceeding with the plea after counsel announced a doubt as to appellant’s competency, and “any other grounds the appellate attorney may find.” No statement of reasonable grounds for appeal was filed. Appellate counsel raised one sentencing issue, and sought leave to file in the superior court an amended notice of appeal including a statement of reasonable grounds for appeal in order to claim that the trial court erred in denying appellant’s request for a competency hearing. In seeking permission for a late filing of the statement of reasonable grounds, appellant argued that amendments to the California Rules of Court appear to have deleted the 60-day time deadline to file such a statement after judgment. He contended that he was therefore not in default. In the alternative, he argued that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to file a statement of reasonable grounds for appeal. The appellate court held that the Judicial Council did not intend to abrogate the 60-day filing deadline. However, an appellate court may grant a motion for the “constructive filing” in the superior court of a late statement of reasonable grounds for appeal, provided the defendant makes a showing of good cause. But here the court denied a CPC anyway on the ground of futility, as the defendant waived his right to a jury trial — by pleading guilty — while under a psychotic delusion that the prospective jurors who were about to judge him were aliens with four eyes on two faces, and nobody questioned that the delusion was real or that the defendant had a major psychiatric history.