People v. SanchezAnnotate this Case
Pursuant to a plea bargain, defendant pleaded guilty to cultivation of marijuana and admitted to having suffered a prior conviction and having violated probation in two other cases. At issue was under what circumstances was a trial court obligated to conduct a hearing on whether to discharge counsel and appoint new counsel when a criminal defendant indicated a desire to withdraw a guilty or no contest plea on the ground that current counsel had provided ineffective assistance. The court concluded that a trial court must conduct a People v. Marsden hearing only when there was at least some clear indication by defendant, either personally or through counsel, that defendant wanted a substitute attorney. The court also held that, if a defendant requested substitute counsel and made a showing during a Marsden hearing that the right to counsel had been substantially impaired, substitute counsel must be appointed as attorney of record for all purposes. In so holding, the court specifically disapproved of the procedure of appointing substitute or "conflict" counsel solely to evaluate a defendant's complaint that his attorney acted incompetently with respect to advice regarding the entry of a guilty or no contest plea. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeals, which reversed the judgment of the trial court and remanded the matter to that court with instructions.