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Name: People v. Sanchez
Case #: F057147
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 10/19/2010
Subsequent History: review granted 2/2/11 (S188453)

When a defendant announces a desire to pursue a motion for new trial or withdrawal of plea on the ground of ineffective assistance of counsel, the court must conduct a Marsden hearing and separate counsel is to be appointed only if the defendant makes a showing his right to counsel has been substantially impaired. Prior to sentencing, defense counsel advised the trial court that appellant wanted to withdraw his plea and indicated that before conflict counsel was appointed, the court had to find out whether the public defender’s office had not provided competent representation. The appellate court found that this statement triggered a duty to conduct a Marsden hearing. But rather than doing so, the trial court appointed separate counsel to look into a motion to withdraw the plea. That attorney subsequently advised the trial court that it found no grounds to withdraw the plea, and the court relieved him and reappointed the public defender to represent appellant at sentencing. Citing, inter alia, People v. Eastman (2007) 146 Cal.App.4th 688, and People v. Smith (1993) 6 Cal.4th 684, the appellate court found error and remanded. Separate counsel is not to be appointed absent a credible showing of ineffective assistance of counsel presented in a Marsden hearing.