Federal Plea Agreements

Monday 20th September 2021 04.01 Published by

Pleadings with elected defendants may raise issues of federalism and separation of powers if they ask the accused to take action affecting his or her mandate. The same questions may also be asked if the defendant is a candidate for an electoral office or if negotiations on the remedy require the resignation of the candidacy or the obligation for the defendant not to seek or resign from public office in the future. Comment. JM 9-27.430 sets out the considerations that should be taken into consideration in the selection of charges or charges to which an accused should plead guilty as soon as it has been decided to decide the case in accordance with a pleading agreement. The considerations are substantially the same as for the selection of charges to be included in the indictment or initial information. See JM 9-27 300. I conclude that the addition of the words “if he pleads guilty or nolo contendere”, as it appears in subsection (4) of 11 (c), was a design art accident that occurred in the context of the congressional revision of 11(c), as approved by the Supreme Court. These terms must be interpreted in accordance with the terms “pre-acceptance of an admission of guilt or nolo contendere”, as they appear in the opening language of 11 (c) and in accordance with the omission of the words “if he pleads” in paragraphs (1), (2) and (3) of 11 (c). In other words, as they appear in subsection (4) of 11 (c), the words “if he pleads guilty or nolo contendere” should be interpreted in such a way that they mean “only if his admission of guilt or Nolo Contendere is accepted by the court”.

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