California v. KentAnnotate this Case
A jury convicted David Kent of possessing child pornography and distributing child pornography. It also convicted him of possessing methamphetamine for sale and possessing cocaine. The court imposed a sentence of three years and four months, but suspended execution of the sentence and placed Kent on probation under various terms and conditions, including a 365-day jail term and lifetime registration as a sex offender. The trial court found Kent violated probation and lifted the suspension of his sentence. Kent’s appointed counsel filed a brief under the procedures outlined in "California v. Wende. Counsel summarized the facts of the case, the procedural history, and “possible” legal issues with citations to the record and appropriate authority, but raised no specific issues, and asked this court to review the record to determine whether there were any arguable issues. Counsel did not argue against her client or assert the appeal was frivolous. Counsel submitted a declaration stating she reviewed the case, she advised Kent of the nature of the brief, she sent Kent a copy of the brief and the appellate record, and informed him he could file a brief on his own behalf. Counsel did not seek to withdraw, but she advised Kent he could move to have her relieved. The Court of Appeal gave Kent 30 days to file a supplemental brief, but he did not respond. The Court of Appeal took the opportunity of this case to emphasize for appointed counsel to represent indigent defendants on appeal that briefs identifying possible appellate issues in what turn out to be Wende matters remain welcome. "While an appellate court need not delve into or even pass on the merits of issues noted in a Wende brief, presenting those issues can ensure counsel does not discharge his or her duty in a merely summary fashion, and guides the court to pertinent legal issues and principles, thereby aiding the court in its Wende review. We therefore encourage counsel to continue to submit such briefs."