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Name: People v. Vaca (2023) 89 Cal.App.5th 1113
Case #: A164953
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 03/30/2023
Summary

Granting a motion under Penal Code section 1473.7 to vacate a conviction or sentence and allow a defendant to withdraw their plea does not require dismissal of the criminal information or complaint. Defendant pleaded no contest to two felonies and was placed on probation. After completing probation, he moved to vacate his conviction and withdraw his plea under section 1473.7, based on his failure to understand the adverse immigration consequences of his plea. The court granted his motion but declined defendant’s additional request to dismiss the case. The court reinstated the amended complaint. Defendant appealed. Held: Affirmed. The plain language of section 1473.7 does not require the trial court to dismiss the charging document after granting the defendant’s motion to withdraw their plea and vacate their conviction under the statute. The court’s interpretation is supported by rules of statutory interpretation and the Legislature’s purpose in enacting the statute. [Editor’s Notes: (1) The Court of Appeal found the matter appealable under section 1237, subdivision (b), which provides that a defendant may appeal “[f]rom any order made after judgment, affecting the substantial rights of the party.” The court disagreed with the Attorney General’s argument that the order denying the motion to dismiss is not appealable because it was not made after judgment and instead after the court earlier granted defendant’s motion to vacate. Instead, the court held that the trial court made the rulings granting the motion to vacate and denying the motion to dismiss under section 1473.7 contemporaneously. (2) A petition for review and a request for depublication are pending.]

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/A164953.PDF