What are the consequences of a plea bargain where a defendant has pleaded guilty to a charge of assault, but the trial court is unable to enforce the plea?

California, United States of America


The following excerpt is from People v. Lopez, 21 Cal.App.4th 225, 27 Cal.Rptr.2d 25 (Cal. App. 1993):

"[B]efore taking a guilty plea the trial court must admonish the defendant of both the constitutional rights that are being waived and the direct consequences of the plea. [Citations.]" (People v. Walker (1991) 54 Cal.3d 1013, 1022, 1 Cal.Rptr.2d 902, 819 P.2d 861.) Lopez received the necessary advisements, but the court is unable to do that which it indicated it would. The sole question is the appropriate remedy for the situation.

"The usual remedies ... are to allow defendant to withdraw the plea and go to trial on the original charges, or to specifically enforce the plea bargain." (People v. Mancheno (1982) 32 Cal.3d 855, 860-861, 187 [21 Cal.App.4th 231] Cal.Rptr. 441, 654 P.2d 211.) "The goal in providing a remedy for breach of the bargain is to redress the harm caused by the violation without prejudicing either party or curtailing the normal sentencing discretion of the trial judge. The remedy chosen will vary depending on the circumstances of each case." (Id. at p. 860, 187 Cal.Rptr. 441, 654 P.2d 211.) We emphasize this was not a plea bargain, but we think it appropriate to consider the following: why the indicated sentence cannot be followed; whether this divergence was deliberate or inadvertent; whether circumstances have changed between entry of the plea and the time of sentencing; and whether additional information has been

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