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Procedures When Appointed Counsel Determines that an Appeal from an Order Denying Postconviction Relief Lacks Arguable Merit

Case Name: People v. Delgadillo (2022) 14 Cal.5th 216
Case #: S266305
Last Updated: February 15, 2023

(1) What procedures must appointed counsel and the Courts of Appeal follow when counsel determines that an appeal from an order denying postconviction relief lacks arguable merit? (2) Are defendants entitled to notice of these procedures?

Held:

In People v. Wende (1979) 25 Cal.3d 436 [158 Cal. Rptr. 839, 600 P.2d 1071] (Wende), we held the Courts of Appeal must conduct a review of the entire record whenever appointed counsel submits a brief on direct appeal which raises no specific issues or describes the appeal as frivolous. (Id. at p. 441.) This procedure is applicable to the first appeal as of right and is compelled by the constitutional right to counsel under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. (Wende, at pp. 439, 441; see Pennsylvania v. Finley (1987) 481 U.S. 551, 554–557 [95 L. Ed. 2d 539, 107 S. Ct. 1990] (Finley); In re Sade C. (1996) 13 Cal.4th 952, 983–984 [55 Cal. Rptr. 2d 771, 920 P.2d 716] (Sade C.).) In this case, we granted review to determine the procedures appointed counsel and the Courts of Appeal must follow when counsel determines that an appeal from an order denying postconviction relief under recently enacted remedial legislation lacks arguable merit and to decide whether defendants are entitled to notice of these procedures.

The Court of Appeal found that it has no duty to independently review an order denying a petition for postconviction relief under Penal Code former section 1170.95, which defendant Jose De Jesus Delgadillo filed here, when appointed counsel submits notice that the appeal lacks arguable merit.1 The Court of Appeal concluded that since Delgadillo’s appeal does not implicate a constitutional right to counsel, the procedures set out in Wende do not apply. (Finley, supra, 481 U.S. at pp. 556–557; Sade C., supra, 13 Cal.4th at p. 978.) We agree with the Court of Appeal as to this issue.

We further exercise our inherent supervisory powers to establish the appellate procedures and the requirements for providing notice to a defendant before a Court of Appeal dismisses an appeal from the denial of a petition under section 1172.6. When counsel submits notice that such an appeal lacks arguable merit, the Court of Appeal should provide notice to the defendant that counsel was unable to find any arguable issues; the defendant may file a supplemental brief or letter raising any argument the defendant wishes the court to consider; and if no such supplemental brief or letter is timely filed, the court may dismiss the appeal as abandoned. In this case, although the Court of Appeal did provide notice to Delgadillo, the notice was suboptimal because it indicated that the Wende procedures would apply when they did not, and it did not inform Delgadillo that the appeal would be dismissed as abandoned if no supplemental brief or letter was filed. However, based on our own independent review of the record, which we undertake voluntarily in the interest of judicial economy, we determine that Delgadillo is not entitled to relief under section 1172.6.

This case was decided on 12/19/2022. The opinion was modified on 2/15/2023.

Review on this issue was also granted with briefing deferred in:

  • People v. Humphrey (Dec. 10, 2020, C091069) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 3/10/2021 (S266647)
  • People v. Scott (2020) 58 Cal.App.5th 1127, review granted 3/17/2021 (S266853/E074939)
  • People v. Seaholm (Dec. 16, 2020, E074875) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 3/24/2021 (S266706)
  • People v. Singletary (Dec. 29, 2020, B301566) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 3/24/2021 (S266892)
  • People v. Ramirez (2021) 60 Cal.App.5th 163, review granted 3/30/2021 (S267182/C091845)
  • People v. Rodriguez (Jan. 29, 2021, B305739) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 4/14/2021 (S267436)
  • People v. Walker (Feb. 10, 2021, B306625) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 4/21/2021 (S267722)
  • People v. Martin (Feb. 10, 2021, B306008) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 4/28/2021 (S267770)
  • People v. Brownlee (Feb. 26, 2021, C091028) [dismissal ord.], review granted 5/12/2021 (S267865)
  • People v. Chavez (Feb. 26, 2021, C091683) [dismissal ord.], review granted 5/12/2021 (S267909)
  • People v. Clark (Feb. 26, 2021, C091345) [dismissal ord.], review granted 5/12/2021 (S267403)
  • People v. Contreras (Mar. 5, 2021, E074711) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 5/12/2021 (S268035)
  • People v. Eaddy (Feb. 26, 2021, C092275) [dismissal ord.], review granted 5/12/2021 (S268036)
  • People v. Figueras (2021) 61 Cal.App.5th 108, review granted 5/12/2021 (S267870/C089228)
  • People v. Goethe (Feb. 26, 2021, C092417) [dismissal ord.], review granted 5/12/2021 (S267867)
  • People v. Johnson (Feb. 26, 2021, C091979) [dismissal ord.], review granted 5/12/2021 (S267934)
  • People v. Leyba (Feb. 26, 2021, C092129) [dismissal ord.], review granted 5/12/2021 (S267900)
  • People v. Mason (Feb. 26, 2021, C091626) [dismissal ord.], review granted 5/12/2021 (S267438)
  • People v. Ortega (Feb. 26, 2021, C092671) [dismissal ord.], review granted 5/12/2021 (S267370)
  • People v. Sims (Feb. 22, 2021, C089527) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 5/12/2021 (S267874)
  • People v. Smith (Feb. 26, 2021, C091746) [dismissal ord.], review granted 5/12/2021 (S267904)
  • People v. Tarasuk (Feb. 26, 2021, C090332) [dismissal ord.], review granted 5/12/2021 (S267379)
  • People v. Vue (Feb. 26, 2021, C092122) [dismissal ord.], review granted 5/12/2021 (S267376)
  • People v. Vue (Feb. 26, 2021, C091988) [dismissal ord.], review granted 5/12/2021 (S267738)
  • People v. Carter (Mar. 4, 2021, E075387) [dismissal ord.], review granted 5/26/2021 (S268174)
  • People v. Imarogbe (Mar. 18, 2021, C093037) [dismissal ord.], review granted 5/26/2021 (S268259)
  • People v. Mendoza (Mar. 16, 2021, C090449) [dismissal ord.], review granted 5/26/2021 (S268368)
  • People v. Sanders (Feb. 24, 2021, B307031) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 5/26/2021 (S267735)
  • People v. Faumui (Mar. 24, 2021, E075801) [dismissal ord.], review granted 6/9/2021 (S268439)
  • People v. Ruffinpatterson (Mar. 16, 2021, E075782) [dismissal ord.], review granted 6/9/2021 (S268248)
  • People v. Armstrong (Apr. 8, 2021, B308270) [dismissal ord.], review granted 6/16/2021 (S268729)
  • People v. Muzquiz (Apr. 9, 2021, C093087) [dismissal ord.], review granted 6/16/2021 (S268463)
  • People v. Coleman (Apr. 19, 2021, C092416) [dismissal ord.], review granted 6/30/2021 (S268865)
  • People v. Jeffries (Apr. 16, 2021, C092875) [dismissal ord.], review granted 6/30/2021 (S268978)
  • People v. Joyner (Apr. 19, 2021, C091224) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 6/30/2021 (S268620)
  • People v. Navarro (Apr. 19, 2021, C091909) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 6/30/2021 (S269021)
  • People v. Mendoza (Apr. 16, 2021, E075768) [dismissal ord.], review granted 6/30/2021 (S268916)
  • People v. Miller (Apr. 19, 2021, B308504) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 6/30/2021 (S268331)
  • People v. Pao (May 14, 2021, C093267) [dismissal ord.], review granted 7/21/2021 (S269320)
  • People v. Barron (May 7, 2021, C093046) [dismissal ord.], review granted 7/28/2021 (S269366)
  • People v. Rael (May 24, 2021, B308169) [dismissal ord.], review granted 8/11/2021 (S269543)
  • People v. Love (May 27, 2021, C092437) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 8/18/2021 (S269698)
  • People v. Thompson (June 22, 2021, B309117) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 8/25/2021 (S269996)
  • People v. Samayoa (Aug. 3, 2021, H047865) [dismissal ord.], review granted 10/13/2021 (S270605)
  • People v. Slone (July 26, 2021, E075821) [dismissal ord.], review granted 10/20/2021 (S270690)
  • People v. Jimenez (Aug. 19, 2021, H047776) [dismissal ord.], review granted 10/27/2021 (S270925)
  • People v. McDonough (Aug. 11, 2021, C092461) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 10/27/2021 (S270931)
  • People v. Brew (Sept. 24, 2021, H047156) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 11/10/2021 (S271139)
  • People v. Hernandez (Sept. 21, 2021, E076965) [dismissal ord.], review granted 12/1/2021 (S271531)
  • People v. Lea (Sept. 24, 2021, C093371) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 12/1/2021 (S271082)
  • People v. Perry (Sept. 22, 2021, C093086) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 12/1/2021 (S271473)
  • People v. Williams (Sept. 20, 2021, C092951) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 12/1/2021 (S271452)
  • People v. Williams (Sept. 22, 2021, C092913) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 12/1/2021 (S271491)
  • People v. Sedillo (Sept. 29, 2021, B309401) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 12/15/2021 (S271292)
  • People v. Martinez (Oct. 28, 2021, C092719) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 1/5/2022 (S272044)
  • People v. Aguilar (Nov. 5, 2021, B309086) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 1/19/2022 (S272111)
  • People v. Walker (Nov. 9, 2021, B310712) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 1/19/2022 (S272194)
  • People v. Parks (Nov. 12, 2021, C092561) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 1/26/2022 (S272389)
  • People v. Banks (Dec. 7, 2021, C093571) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 2/9/2022 (S272357)
  • People v. Blackman (Nov. 30, 2021, C093647) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 2/9/2022 (S272423)
  • People v. Currie (Nov. 24, 2021, C093500) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 2/9/2022 (S272048)
  • People v. Pulido (Dec. 27, 2021, H049392) [dismissal ord.], review granted 3/9/2022 (S272896)
  • People v. Robinson (Dec. 15, 2021, C092166) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 3/9/2022 (S272815)
  • People v. Tran (Jan. 24, 2021, C094216) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 3/23/2022 (S273198)
  • People v. Haven (Jan. 19, 2022, C093641) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 3/30/2022 (S273287)
  • People v. De La Cruz (Feb. 7, 2022, B312111) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 4/13/2022 (S273490)
  • People v. Vaca (Feb. 8, 2022, H047346) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 4/20/2022 (S273597)
  • People v. Guajardo (C093286) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 6/1/2022 (S274260)
  • People v. Hernandez (E077943) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 6/1/2022 (S274118)
  • People v. Leite (C094428) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 6/1/2022 (S273813)
  • People v. Taylor (H048140) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 6/15/22 (S274260)
  • People v. Walden (C093920) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 7/13/2022 (S274938)
  • People v. Weisner (2022) 77 Cal.App.5th 1072, review granted 7/13/2022 (S274617)
  • People v. Chiemwichitra (C096201) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 12/21/2022 (S276994)
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