Boykin Tahl Rights

In Boykin v. Alabama (1969) 395 U.S. 238, the United States Supreme Court held that a waiver of the privilege against compulsory self-incrimination, the right to a trial by jury, and the right to confront one's accusers cannot be inferred from a silent record. In In re Tahl (1969) 1 Cal.3d 122, the California Supreme Court interpreted Boykin in such a way as to require an express waiver of the three federal constitutional rights upon entry of a guilty plea, even though the Boykin opinion did not explicitly impose such a requirement. In People v. Levey (1973) 8 Cal.3d 648, 652-654, disapproved in part in People v. Howard (1992) 1 Cal.4th 1132, 1175, the Supreme Court found that reversal was required if a submission was "tantamount to a guilty plea" and the conviction was obtained without a proper advisement and waiver of the right against self-incrimination. In In re Yurko (1974) 10 Cal.3d 857, the California Supreme Court concluded that Boykin and Tahl require express and specific admonitions as to the constitutional rights before a trial court accepts an accused's admission that he or she has suffered prior felony convictions. In People v. Adams (1993) 6 Cal.4th 570 (Adams), the Supreme Court considered whether the Boykin-Tahl advisements were required when the defendant stipulated to a factual allegation--of his having been released on bail at the time an alleged offense occurred. That allegation was one component of the enhancement and sentencing provision within section 12022.1 (felony committed while released on bail or own recognizance). the Court of Appeal had held that the trial court erred in failing to give the Boykin-Tahl advisements before accepting the stipulation. The Supreme Court disagreed, concluding that the defendant's stipulation was a stipulation to evidentiary facts and not an admission that the enhancement allegation itself was true or an admission of every element necessary to imposition of punishment on the section 12022.1 charge. Therefore, the Supreme Court concluded the requirements of Boykin-Tahl and Yurko were inapplicable. (Adams, at p. 573.) In People v. Newman (1999) 21 Cal.4th 413, the Supreme Court was presented with the question whether, in a prosecution for possession of a firearm by a felon ( 12021, subd. (a)(1)), a defendant must receive Boykin-Tahl advisements and waive the relevant constitutional rights prior to stipulating to his or her status as a felon. The Supreme Court held the question was controlled by the reasoning in the Adams case and concluded a defendant may validly stipulate to one or more, but not all, of the evidentiary facts necessary to a conviction of an offense or an enhancement without first having received such advisements. As in Adams, no penal consequences flowed directly from the stipulation and the prosecutor still was required to prove the remaining elements of the offense. The Supreme Court specifically concluded: "The trial court was not required to provide the Boykin-Tahl advisements before permitting defendant, through his counsel, to stipulate during his trial for possession of a firearm by a felon that he previously had been convicted of a felony." (Newman, at p. 422.)