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NCJ Number: 76372 Find in a Library
Title: Guilty Plea Waivers and the Right to Compulsory Process
Journal: UCLA Law Review  Volume:27  Issue:6  Dated:(August 1980)  Pages:1303-1339
Author(s): K R Koch-Weser
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 37
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This comment focuses on one apparent flaw in the plea acceptance process--the courts' failure to recognize that a constitutionally valid guilty plea requires an understanding and voluntary waiver of the right to compulsory process.
Abstract: The failure of the courts in this regard is especially anomalous in light of the Supreme Court's recognition that the right to compulsory process is a fundamental element of due process on equal footing with other sixth amendment rights that must be waived. The procedure for acceptance of guilty pleas in the Federal courts is specified in rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. The goal of the process outlined in that rule is the attainment of pleas that are informed, voluntary, and accurate. The rule requires a lengthy interchange between the judge and the defendant in order to assure that this ideal is met. The theoretical framework of the guilty plea acceptance procedure is the waiver doctrine. One component of rule 11 that is intended to insure an intelligent guilty plea is the judge's responsibility to advise defendants of the constutional rights they are waiving, as delineated in the 1969 Supreme Court decision in 'Boykin v. Alabama' (1969). In general, however, the right to compulsory process has received very little explication by the Supreme Court. Some State courts courts have recognized that the right to compulsory process is one of the fundamental rights waived by a guilty plea, as indicated by the 1970 California case of of 'In re Mosely.' Possible reasons for omitting this right from the guilty plea acceptance procedure include reliance on defense counsel, drawing a functional distinction between compulsory rights and Boykin rights, and concluding that a waiver of the right to a jury trial implicitly includes a waiver of the right to compulsory process. Because of the significant consequences for innocent defendants and the potential impact on the finality of guilty pleas, rule 11 and comparable State rules should be amended to require admonition and waiver of the right to compulsory process. The comment includes an appendix and 184 footnotes.
Index Term(s): Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Judicial decisions; Pleas; Right to Due Process; US Supreme Court; Waiver of rights
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