Saturday, November 2, 2013

Bordenkircher v. Hayes case brief

Bordenkircher v. Hayes case brief summary
434 U.S. 357 (1978)

Petitioner sought review of a decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit that held that respondent's due process rights were violated when he was indicted, convicted, and sentenced for a more serious charge when he failed to plead guilty to the original lesser charge.

A state prosecutor reindicted respondent for a more serious offense when respondent refused to plead guilty to the original lesser charges. Respondent was convicted, and because the more serious charge was under the habitual criminal statute, respondent was sentenced to a life sentence. Afterwards respondent petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus.

  • The district court upheld the constitutionality of the indictment, and the court of appeals reversed. 
  • The Court found that respondent was fully informed of the terms of the plea offer, which was the consequence of an indictment for a higher offense if respondent failed to plead guilty, when respondent made his decision not to plead guilty. 
  • The charge was fully supported by the evidence, which was in prosecutor's possession at the time of the original indictment. 
  • The Court held that the prosecutor's conduct did not violate respondent's due process rights under U.S. Constitutional Amendment XIV.


The decision that respondents' due process rights were violated by the reindictment, conviction, and sentencing for a higher offense was reversed. Respondent was fully aware of the consequences of his decision not to plead guilty to the original offense charged.

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

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