California v. NovoaAnnotate this Case
In March 2003, Raul Novoa pled guilty to possession of methamphetamine for sale. The trial court sentenced him to 180 days in county jail and three years' probation. In 2012, the United States began deportation proceedings against Novoa, which were ongoing at the time of this opinion. In May 2017, Novoa successfully moved to vacate his 2003 conviction per Penal Code section 1473.7. The State appealed, arguing the trial court erred by: (1) holding Novoa's trial counsel to a duty the law did not require; and (2) finding Novoa suffered prejudice. In support of its position, the State contended the superior court's factual findings were not supported by substantial evidence. Moreover, the State argued laches prohibited Novoa's motion. The Court of Appeal found the State’s arguments were without merit and thus affirmed the superior court.