Arbuckle rights

In People v. Arbuckle (1978) 22 Cal.3d 749, Judge Robert H. London accepted a negotiated plea of guilty from the defendant to a charge of assault with a deadly weapon in exchange for dismissal of two other charges and agreement that the judge would follow the sentencing recommendation in a diagnostic report from the Department of Corrections. (People v. Arbuckle, supra, 22 Cal.3d at pp. 752-753.) The report ultimately recommended prison, although a minority report recommended probation with maximum jail time. (Id. at p. 752.) Before the sentencing hearing, however, Judge London was transferred to another department. (Id. at p. 753.) When the case was called before Judge Raymond R. Roberts, the defendant objected to imposition of sentence by Judge Roberts and insisted that he was entitled to be sentenced by Judge London. (Ibid.) Judge Roberts disagreed and sentenced him to prison. (Ibid.) On review, the Supreme Court agreed with the defendant "that the plea bargain herein was entered in expectation of and in reliance upon sentence being imposed by the same judge." (People v. Arbuckle, supra, 22 Cal.3d at p. 756.) The court noted that its conclusion was "supported by the judge's repeated use of the personal pronoun when referring to sentencing in the proceeding in which the plea bargain was accepted." (Arbuckle, at p. 756.) The court then continued as follows: "As a general principle, moreover, whenever a judge accepts a plea bargain and retains sentencing discretion under the agreement, an implied term of the bargain is that sentence will be imposed by that judge. Because of the range of dispositions available to a sentencing judge, the propensity in sentencing demonstrated by a particular judge is an inherently significant factor in the defendant's decision to enter a guilty plea." (Id. at pp. 756-757.) The court determined that "because the defendant has been denied that aspect of his plea bargain, the sentence imposed by another judge cannot be allowed to stand," and the defendant was "entitled to be sentenced by Judge London, or if internal court administrative practices render that impossible, then in the alternative defendant should be permitted to withdraw his plea." (Id. at p. 757.)