Challenging Prior Convictions Based on Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

In Garcia v. Superior Court (1997) 14 Cal. 4th 953 [59 Cal. Rptr. 2d 858, 928 P.2d 572] Garcia disputed his prior conviction because he claimed he had been denied effective assistance of counsel in the proceeding. The court rejected the argument, stating in relevant part that "nothing in the language of our state Constitution, or in our past decisions construing its provisions, presents a 'cogent reason' for us to reach an interpretation of our state constitutional requirements different from that under the federal Constitution, as determined in Custis." (Id. at p. 963.) The court distinguished People v. Sumstine (1984) because it did not involve a challenge to a prior conviction based upon purported ineffective assistance of counsel. The court articulated a number of policy considerations to support its decision: "Such a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel often will necessitate a factual investigation with regard to counsel's actions, omissions, and strategic decisions, requiring the parties and the court to reconstruct events possibly remote in time, and to scour potentially voluminous records, substantially delaying the proceedings related to the current offense. . . ." (Garcia, supra, at p. 965.)