Waiver of Rights Prior to Plea In California

In In re Tahl (1969) 1 Cal.3d 122, the California Supreme Court held that the constitutional rights against compulsory self-incrimination, to confrontation, and to jury trial "must be specifically and expressly enumerated for the benefit of and waived by the accused prior to acceptance of his guilty plea." (Id. at p. 132; see also Boykin v. Alabama (1969) 395 U.S. 238 same.) In People v. Howard (1992) 1 Cal.4th 1132 (Howard), the Supreme Court rejected the rule that failure to obtain explicit waivers of these three Boykin-Tahl rights required reversal regardless of prejudice. (Howard, supra, 1 Cal.4th at p. 1178.) Rather, "the record must affirmatively demonstrate that the plea was voluntary and intelligent under the totality of the circumstances" or the judgment would be reversed. (Ibid.) After Howard, "an appellate court must go beyond the courtroom colloquy to assess a claim Boykin-Tahl error. Now, if the transcript does not reveal complete advisements and waivers, the reviewing court must examine the record of 'the entire proceeding' to assess whether the defendant's admission of the prior conviction was intelligent and voluntary in light of the totality of circumstances." (People v. Mosby (2004) 33 Cal.4th 353, 361 (Mosby).) Prior experience with the criminal justice system, as shown in the record, is also a factor that can be considered. (Id. at p. 365.)