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Name: People v. Weaver
Case #: D039114
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 04/29/2004
Subsequent History: Mod. 5/5/04

During plea negotiations, the trial court told appellant he would be convicted, that the plea bargain was a good deal, that he was concerned about the victims being revictimized at trial and that he would not look upon appellant favorably if he went to trial. Appellant concluded that the judge believed he was guilty and dangerous and would not get a fair trial, so he pleaded guilty. Appellant contended on appeal that his guilty plea was coerced by pressure from his attorneys and the trial court, and he should have been allowed to withdraw his plea. The appellate court here agreed, and remanded for appellant to withdraw his guilty plea if he so chose. Although the judge’s obvious intent was to encourage a plea bargain which was in everyone’s interest, he went too far. His “histrionic monologues” did not constitute mediation or facilitation, but advocacy. The trial court abandoned its judicial role and its actions overcame appellant’s free judgment.