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Plea Bargains: Santabello v New York
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Santobello v. New York

1971 U.S. Supreme Court:

Santobello v. New York
404 U.S. 257 (1971)

After negotiations with the prosecutor, petitioner withdrew his previous not-guilty plea to two felony counts and pleaded guilty to a lesser included offense, the prosecutor having agreed to make no recommendation as to sentence. At petitioner's appearance for sentencing many months later, a new prosecutor recommended the maximum sentence, which the judge (who stated that he was uninfluenced by that recommendation) imposed. Petitioner attempted unsuccessfully to withdraw his guilty plea, and his conviction was affirmed on appeal.

Held: The interests of justice and proper recognition of the prosecution's duties in relation to promises made in connection with "plea bargaining" require that the judgment be vacated and that the case be remanded to the state courts for further consideration as to whether the circumstances require only that there be specific performance of the agreement on the plea (in which case petitioner should be resentenced by a different judge), or petitioner should be afforded the relief he seeks of withdrawing his guilty plea.

The essence of this case is, anyone who entered into a plea with the state, that plea cannot b broken it is sacrosanct. Plea bargains are special and reduced to writing, whatever that says cannot be broken and the defendant can rely on that. If one who has entered into a WRITTEN plea bargain feels the state has violated that can assert this case to force the state to abide by the WRITTEN plea bargain.

Google Scholar: Santabello v NY and Plea Bargains

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