Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Boykin v. Alabama case brief

Boykin v. Alabama case brief summary
395 U.S. 238 (1969)

Defendant appealed from a judgment of the Supreme Court of Alabama, which affirmed a conviction for robbery, upon defendant's guilty plea, and a death sentence imposed by a jury pursuant to Ala. Code, title. 15, § 277 (1958).

Defendant was charged with common-law robbery. He pleaded guilty to the five indictments against him, and the trial court entered his plea of guilty. A jury was convened for sentencing, pursuant to Ala. Code, title. 15, § 277 (1958), and the jury sentenced defendant to death. On automatic appeal, the state supreme court affirmed the judgment, holding that a death sentence for robbery was not cruel and unusual punishment.

  • On further appeal, although the issue of voluntariness of the plea had not been raised below, the court chose to consider the issue under the plain error doctrine as stated in Ala. Code, title 15, § 382(10) (1958). 
  • The court reversed defendant's conviction because the record contained no showing that his guilty plea was voluntary. An affirmative showing of voluntariness on the record was necessary in order to conclude that defendant had waived his constitutional rights.


The court reversed defendant's conviction.

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

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