California Penal Code Section 1192.5

In People v. Cruz (1988) 44 Cal.3d 1247, the California Supreme Court held that a defendant who fails to appear for sentencing does not lose the protection of Penal Code section 1192.5. In pertinent part, section 1192.5 provides, as follows: "Where the plea is accepted by the prosecuting attorney in open court and is approved by the court, the defendant, except as otherwise provided in this section, cannot be sentenced on the plea to a punishment more severe than that specified in the plea and the court may not proceed as to the plea other than as specified in the plea. If the court approves of the plea, it shall inform the defendant prior to the making of the plea that (1) its approval is not binding, (2) it may, at the time set for the hearing on the application for probation or pronouncement of judgment, withdraw its approval in the light of further consideration of the matter, and (3) in that case, the defendant shall be permitted to withdraw his or her plea if he or she desires to do so." In that case, the defendant pled guilty pursuant to a plea agreement that gave him the option of a sentence of up to one year in the county jail with a maximum of five years' probation or 16 months in prison without probation. The defendant failed to appear for sentencing. When he was apprehended more than six months later, the superior court refused to abide by the plea agreement. It denied the defendant's motion to withdraw his plea, and it sentenced the defendant to a term of two years in state prison. The Court of Appeal affirmed the resulting judgment, concluding that by failing to appear for sentencing, the defendant had "'breached the bargain . . . and was not entitled to either specific enforcement of that bargain or withdrawal of his guilty plea.'" (Cruz, supra, 44 Cal.3d at p. 1250.) The Supreme Court granted review and reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeal.