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Doe v Harris

7-1-2013 California:

Doe v Harris
California Supreme court decision on "Certified Question from 9th Circuit".

Sometimes it is better to start at the end, accordingly here is the decision of the California Supreme court on certified question:


For the reasons we have explained, the general rule in California is that a plea agreement is "`deemed to incorporate and contemplate not only the existing law but the reserve power of the state to amend the law or enact additional laws for the public good and in pursuance of public policy. . . .'" (Gipson, supra, 117 Cal.App.4th at p. 1070.)

It follows, also as a general rule, that requiring the parties' compliance with changes in the law made retroactive to them does not violate the terms of the plea agreement, nor does the failure of a plea agreement to reference the possibility the law might change translate into an implied promise the defendant will be unaffected by a change in the statutory consequences attending his or her conviction.

To that extent, then, the terms of the plea agreement can be affected by changes in the law.

To see what transpired before this decision, see Doe v Harris 1-13-2013.

Effectively, in California, plea bargains are only good if the state -through future enactment of laws- does not change the terms of earlier plea bargain. Isn't great, the state is always in control.

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