Thursday, January 31, 2013

Missouri v. Frye case brief

Missouri v. Frye
132 S. Ct. 1399

The respondent, who pleaded guilty to driving with a revoked license, filed a post-conviction relief petition alleging that his counsel's failure to inform him of a plea offer denied him Sixth Amendment effective assistance of counsel. 
A state court denied the post conviction relief petition, but the Missouri Court of Appeals reversed. Petitioner, the State of Missouri, sought review. 
The Supreme Court of the United States granted certiorari.

After being charged with driving with a revoked license, the prosecutor sent respondent's counsel two plea bargains. 

Respondent's counsel did not advise him of the offers, which had expired. 
Prior to the preliminary hearing, the respondent was again arrested for driving with a revoked license. The respondent pleaded guilty without an agreement. 
On review, the Court reaffirmed that the Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance applied to the entry of a guilty plea. 


The Court also held that defense counsel had a duty to communicate formal offers from the prosecution to accept a plea on terms and conditions that might be favorable to an accused; when counsel allowed the offer to expire without advising respondent or allowing him to consider it, counsel did not render constitutionally effective assistance. 


Under Strickland, however, the respondent had to show prejudice from the ineffective assistance. 
The Court concluded that the state appellate court erred by not requiring respondent to show not only a reasonable probability that he would have accepted the lapsed plea, but also a reasonable probability that the prosecution would have adhered to the plea and that the trial court would have accepted it.

OUTCOME: In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the Missouri Court of Appeals and remanded the case for further proceedings. There was one dissent.

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