Withdrawing a Guilty Plea After Judgment in Califortnia
In People v. Castaneda (1995) 37 Cal.App.4th 1612, the appellate court stated:
"By statute, a defendant who seeks to withdraw his guilty plea may do so before judgment has been entered upon a showing of good cause. Although Penal Code section 1018 is limited on its face to the period before judgment, the courts have long permitted defendants to move to set aside the judgment as a means of allowing the defendant to withdraw the guilty plea after judgment. Under Penal Code section 1018, mistake, ignorance or any other factor overcoming the exercise of free judgment is good cause for withdrawal of the plea, but good cause must be shown by clear and convincing evidence. The decision to grant the motion to withdraw the plea lies within the discretion of the trial court." (Id. at pp. 1616-1617.)
Although the Castaneda court continued its analysis by discussing how courts have permitted defendants to withdraw guilty pleas after judgment has been entered, based on similar standards utilized in granting prejudgment relief under Penal Code section 1018, the court expressly observed that a motion to vacate (nonstatutory) is "equivalent to a petition for the common law remedy of a writ of error coram nobis." (Castaneda, supra, 37 Cal.App.4th at p. 1618.)
Penal Code section 1018, does not provide authority for the trial court's order granting the motion because that statute only authorizes a trial court to allow a defendant to withdraw a guilty plea before judgment is entered. S
ection 1018 provides in relevant part:
"On application of the defendant at any time before judgment ... , the court may, and in case of a defendant who appeared without counsel at the time of the plea the court shall, for a good cause shown, permit the plea of guilty to be withdrawn and a plea of not guilty substituted. ... This section shall be liberally construed to effect these objects and to promote justice."