Conviction Beyond a Reasonable Suspicion? The Need for Strengthening the Factual Basis Requirement in Guilty Pleas
Concordia Law Review 3(1), 2018
41 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2019
Date Written: 2018
Does the court, before accepting a guilty plea, check the accuracy of the plea agreement in any significant way? This article addresses the issues on judges being unconcerned or the inconsistent practice of guiding the stages of guilty plea. The article further suggests that the judge should carefully review its factual basis to avoid a wrongful guilty plea. Although Rule 11(b) of the Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure requires the judges to check the factual basis of the guilty plea, the rule is not paid much attention to legal professionals. Setting the adversarial culture aside, the rule itself has a structural problem not to be enforced properly during a plea colloquy. Instead of revising the rule, this article proposes a newer interpretation to induce judges more responsible to confirm the factual basis. This could be a practical solution 1) to filter out an inaccurate pleading guilty, 2) to increase the accountability of the prosecution in guilty plea, and 3) to help the defendant make more informed plea decisions.
Keywords: Guilty Plea, Factual Basis, Reasonable Suspicion, Reasonable Doubt
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation