Saturday, November 2, 2013

Blackledge v. Perry case brief

Blackledge v. Perry case brief summary
417 U.S. 21 (1974)

Petitioner state appealed a judgment from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which granted respondent individual's petition for a writ of habeas corpus and reversed his conviction on the grounds that petitioner violated respondent's U.S. Constitutional Amendment XIV due process rights by charging a more serious offense in respondent's de novo retrial pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 7A-290 and 15-177.1.

Respondent individual exercised his right under N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 7A-290 and 15-177.1 to a de novo retrial of his misdemeanor conviction. Petitioner state charged a felony offense for the same conduct, and respondent was convicted of that offense.

  • Holding that the charging of a more serious offense on the retrial threatened to unconstitutionally deter a defendant's exercise of his right of appeal and that the assertion of this due process right was not barred by a guilty plea, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the issuance of the writ. 
  • The Court held that petitioner's asserted discretion to charge a greater offense on retrial carried the same potential for vindictiveness that tainted the prohibited imposition by a judge of a sentence on a conviction after retrial that was greater than that imposed by that judge in the original trial.
  • Moreover, the Court held that the right impinged by the threat of vindictiveness was the right not to be hauled into court on the greater charge at all. 
  • This was distinguished from other rights that a defendant was precluded from pursuing in a habeas proceeding after the entry of a plea of guilty broke "the chain of events" of the criminal process.

The Court affirmed the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus, because petitioner's charging a greater offense for the same conduct in respondent individual's de novo retrial of lower court conviction had the potential for vindictive abuse, and could unconstitutionally deter defendants from pursuing their appeal rights, and review by writ of habeas corpus of such a violation of due process was not precluded by respondent's guilty plea.

Recommended Supplements for Criminal Procedure Criminal Procedure: Examples & Explanations, Sixth Edition
Emanuel Law Outline: Criminal Procedure

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