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NCJ Number: 43873 Find in a Library
Title: ACCURACY INQUIRIES FOR ALL FELONY AND MISDEMEANOR PLEAS VOLUNTARY PLEAS BUT INNOCENT DEFENDANTS?
Journal: UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA LAW REVIEW  Volume:126  Issue:1  Dated:(NOVEMBER 1977)  Pages:88-146
Author(s): J L BARKAI
Corporate Author: University of Pennsylvania
Law School
United States of America
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 59
Sponsoring Agency: University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19174
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE DEVELOPMENT OF AND RATIONALE FOR THE REQUIREMENT THAT TRIAL JUDGES ESTABLISH A FACTUAL BASIS FOR A GUILTY PLEA BEFORE ACCEPTING THE PLEA ARE EXPLORED.
Abstract: AN ESTIMATED 85 TO 95 PERCENT OF ALL CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS IN THE UNITED STATES RESULT FROM GUILTY PLEAS. BY PLEADING GUILTY, A DEFENDANT DOES NOT FORFEIT HIS PROTECTIONS AGAINST UNFAIR OR IMPROPER ACTIONS DURING THE PLEA PROCESS. VOLUNTARINESS AND UNDERSTANDING ARE WELL-ESTABLISHED CONSTITUTIONAL PREREQUISITES FOR VALID GUILTY PLEAS. GROWING INTEREST IN THE INSTITUTIONAL AND PERSONAL PRESSURES THAT INDUCE DEFENDANTS TO PLEAD GUILTY HAS ACCOMPANIED THE COURTS' FORMAL RECOGNITION OF PLEA BARGAINING. OF PARTICULAR CONCERN IS THE SITUATION IN WHICH AN INNOCENT DEFENDANT'S LEGAL GUILT IS SEALED BY A PLEA OF GUILTY. THIS CONCERN IS REFLECTED IN RULE 11 OF THE FEDERAL RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE AND IN SEVERAL STATE CASES AND STATUTES REQUIRING TRIAL JUDGES TO DETERMINE THE ACCURACY OF GUILTY PLEAS. HOWEVER, EXCEPT UNDER THE FEDERAL STANDARD, THE ACCURACY INQUIRY GENERALLY IS REQUIRED ONLY IN FELONY CASES. IT IS ARGUED THAT NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FELONY AND MISDEMEANOR CHARGES CAN JUSTIFY THE APPLICATION OF ACCURACY REQUIREMENTS SOLELY TO FELONY CASES. IT IS PROPOSED THAT AN ACCURACY INQUIRY BE EXTENDED TO ALL FELONY AND MISDEMEANOR GUILTY PLEAS IN STATE AND FEDERAL COURTS. THE CONCLUSION IS MADE THAT SUCH AN EXTENSION WILL ENHANCE THE QUALITY OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE WITHOUT PRODUCING UNDUE COSTS FOR THE LOWER COURTS. A PROPOSED STANDARD FOR THE ACCURACY INQUIRY REQUIRES THAT THE ACCURACY OF A PLEA OF GUILTY OR NOLO CONTENDERE BE ESTABLISHED ON THE RECORD BY THE MOST RELIABLE METHOD AVAILABLE AND UNDER A STANDARD OF PROOF EQUIVALENT TO THE PROOF NEEDED TO DEFEAT A MOTION FOR A DIRECTED VERDICT OF ACQUITTAL. THE PROPOSAL ALSO PROVIDES THAT A JUDGE MAY ACCEPT A GUILTY PLEA EVEN IF IT DOES NOT MEET THE FACTUAL BASIS STANDARD IF THE JUDGE ESTABLISHES ON THE RECORD THAT THE DEFENDANT, AFTER BEING INFORMED OF THE APPARENT FACTUAL DEFICIENCY OF HIS PLEA, CHOSE TO PLEAD AND THAT THERE IS A PROBABILITY OF CONVICTION AT TRIAL. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED).
Index Term(s): Plea negotiations; Pleas; Pretrial procedures; Right to Due Process; Rights of the accused
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=43873

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