Case Study: Brady V. United States

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Brady v. United States 397 U.S. 742 (1970) Intro: The Petitioner plead guilty to kidnapping after his co-defendant decided to confess and testify against him. Whether Brady’s (the petitioner) plea was made voluntarily was the issue. Relevant Law: “Just because a defendant discovers that the State would have had a weaker case or that they were not going to impose the maximum punishment does not mean that the defendant is allowed by law to disown his statements made in open court.” Facts: The Petitioner, in 1959, was charged with kidnapping. Because the person Brady had kidnapped later died, he could have been charged with the death penalty. The petitioner, Brady initially pled not guilty. After learning that his co-defendant confessed to the authorities, and would plead guilty and be available to testify against him, Brady decided to plead guilty as well. Before entering his plea, the trial judge questioned him twice about the voluntariness of his plea. Brady was sentenced to fifty years in prison and it was later reduced to thirty. In 1967 looking to take time off of his sentence Brady claimed that his plea of guilty was coerced and that he was pressured by his counsel, who told him he should plead guilty to avoid the death penalty. The District Court of the District of New Mexico denied relief and the Circuit Court concluded that the District Court’s findings were supported by substantial evidence. Specifically approving of the District Court’s finding that petitioner’s plea of guilty was voluntary. …show more content…

But a plea of guilty is not invalid just because entered to avoid the possibility of the death penalty, and here, the petitioner's plea of guilty met the standard of

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