Plea Bargains

Ineffective assistance of counsel in advising waiver of right to claim ineffective assistance of counsel

When a plea agreement includes a waiver of rights to appeal, claim ineffective assistance of counsel, and to move to withdraw the plea, can it logically be enforced to preclude a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel in the advice to enter into the agreement? Last week, in People v. Orozco, case no. F056712, (5th Dist. Ja. 8, 2010), the court of appeal joins several federal courts in reaching the only sensible answer: of course not.

To hold such a waiver enforceable “would deprive a defendant of the ‘opportunity to assert his Sixth Amendment right to counsel where he had accepted the waiver in reliance on delinquent representation.’ ” [Citation.]

We agree with the federal authorities and find justice dictates that a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel in connection with the making of the waiver agreement cannot be barred by the agreement that is the product of the alleged ineffectiveness.


  • Greg May

    Imagination knows no bounds when it comes to plea agreements, it seems. In the last few years, it seems that litigation over waiver of appeal rights in plea agreements has cropped up especially often in federal court.