Monday, July 1, 2013

Doe v. Harris, S191948

Plea agreement: the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is considering a claim by plaintiff that his plea agreement would be violated by requiring him to comply with postconviction amendments to California’s Sex Offender Registration Act, Penal Code section 290 et seq., requested an answer to the following question:  “whether, under California law, the default rule of contract interpretation is (a) that the law in effect at the time of a plea agreement binds the parties, or (b) that the terms of a plea agreement may be affected by changes in law.”  We accepted the request and slightly rephrased the question as:  “Under California law of contract interpretation as applicable to the interpretation of plea agreements, does the law in effect at the time of a plea agreement bind the parties or can the terms of a plea agreement be affected by changes in the law?”  We respond that the general rule in California is that the plea agreement will be “ ‘deemed to incorporate and contemplate not only the existing law but the reserve power of the state to amend the law or enact additional laws for the public good and in pursuance of public policy. . . .’ ”  (People v. Gipson (2004) 117 Cal.App.4th 1065, 1070 (Gipson).)  That the parties enter into a plea agreement thus does not have the effect of insulating them from changes in the law that the Legislature has intended to apply to them (Cal. S. Ct., 01.07.2013, Doe v. Harris, S191948).

Plea agreement : en droit californien, le droit contractuel et ses principes d’interprétation s’appliquent au contenu du plea. En outre, si ultérieurement au plea le droit contractuel connaît des modifications prises dans l’intérêt public, le contenu du plea peut être affecté conformément au nouveau droit. Le contenu d’un plea peut donc subir des modifications subséquemment à sa prise d’effet.

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