Archive | guilty plea

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

NACDL Report on the Trial Penalty

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) recently released a report that is somewhat provocatively, but fairly, titled: The Trial Penalty: The Sixth Amendment Right to Trial on the Verge of Extinction and How to Save It.  The report, available here, offers a succinct assessment of the legal and institutional pressures that coerce 97% of state and federal defendants into plea bargains.

From the Executive Summary:

[O]ver the last fifty years, trial by jury has declined at an ever-increasing rate to the point that this institution now occurs in less than 3% of state and federal criminal cases. Trial by jury has been replaced by a “system of [guilty] pleas”3 which diminishes, to the point of obscurity, the role that the Framers envisioned for jury trials as the primary protection for individual liberties and the principal mechanism for public participation in the criminal justice system.

Guilty pleas


Posted By
Categories: guilty plea, Sixth Amendment

Continue Reading
Friday, February 23rd, 2018

Guilty Pleas Do Not Bar Appeals Challenging the Constitutionality of the Statute of Conviction

The Supreme Court held this week, in Class v. United States, that a guilty plea does not inherently bar a defendant from arguing on appeal that the statute of conviction violates the Constitution.  Amy Baron-Evans of the Sentencing Resource Counsel has the details:

The Supreme Court held in Class v. United States that a guilty plea does not inherently waive a constitutional challenge to the statute of conviction. Justice Breyer wrote for the majority of six (joined by Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Kagan, Roberts, Gorsuch), and Justice Alito wrote the dissent (joined by Kennedy and Thomas).

Class was indicted by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia for possessing firearms in his locked jeep in a parking lot on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, in violation of 40 USC 5104(e)(1). He moved to dismiss the indictment, claiming that “the statute violates [1] the Second Amendment and [2] the …

Posted by
Categories: guilty plea

Posted By
Categories: guilty plea

Continue Reading
Monday, August 18th, 2008

Uncooperative

United States v. Doe, No. 06-4124-cr (2d Cir. August 13, 2008) (Kearse, Pooler, CJJ, Cote, DJ)

Defendant John Doe, along with others, was charged with “an array” of drug and gun offenses, racketeering, robbery and two murders. He expressed an interest in trying to cooperate with the government, but the government declined. Two year later, he tried again, writing a letter to the government asking to explore the possibility of cooperating. The government again said no.

At a reverse proffer, the government revealed that it had a series of letters that Doe had written to his girlfriend; in them Doe confessed to a number of crimes and also repeatedly discussed his desire to cooperate. The government offered Doe a forty-five year plea agreement – he faced life after trial – and also told him that the government would give those letters to his co-defendants if he went to trial. A …


Posted By
Categories: guilty plea, Uncategorized, voluntariness

Continue Reading