Plea Bargains that Waive Claims of Ineffective Assistance - Waiving Padilla and Frye

27 Pages Posted: 3 May 2013 Last revised: 6 Jul 2013

See all articles by Nancy J. King

Nancy J. King

Vanderbilt University - Law School

Date Written: May 2, 2013


This essay addresses the growing use and enforcement of terms in plea agreements by which a defendant waives his right to attack his plea agreement on the basis of constitutionally deficient representation during negotiations leading to the agreement. Contrary to other commentators and some courts, I argue that the Constitution does not forbid the enforcement of such a waiver, and review steps a judge may have to take in order to ensure that a defendant’s express waiver of the right to effective representation during plea bargaining is knowing and voluntary. I also argue that although the Constitution does not prohibit judges from enforcing broad waivers of the right to attack a plea-based conviction on the basis of poor representation during bargaining, routine adoption and enforcement of such terms would be unwise, and suggest several strategies to avoid this result.

Keywords: Waiver, ineffective assistance, Strickland, Lafler, Frye, plea bargaining, ethics, appeal waiver, habeas, post-conviction, plea agreements

Suggested Citation

King, Nancy J., Plea Bargains that Waive Claims of Ineffective Assistance - Waiving Padilla and Frye (May 2, 2013). Duquesne University Law Review, Vol. 51, p. 647, 2013, Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 13-25, Available at SSRN:

Nancy J. King (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

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