Guilty plea as a relinquishment of constitutional rights

Czasopismo Prawa Karnego i Nauk Penalnych Rok XXII: 2018, numer 1
Journal of Criminal Law and Penal Studies Volume XXII: 2018, No. 1

Aleksandra Nieprzecka - Ph.D., Jagiellonian University

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guilt, guilty plea, criminal proceedings, law of United Stated of America, comparative criminal law


The subject of this article is the institution of guilty plea understood as self-incriminating evidence, an official statement indicating the defendant’s consent to render a judgment and sentence, and the relinquishment of certain constitutional substantive and procedural rights, including the right to a public jury trial. The author indicates the elements that must be determined by the court before accepting the plea (namely: voluntariness, intelligence and sufficient factual basis) which the U.S. Supreme Court derived from the fact that a valid and effective guilty plea implicates the waiver of certain constitutional guarantees. The remarks presented in the article are preceded by the analysis of academic literature and the U.S. Supreme Courts judgments regarding guilty pleas delivered since the end of the XIX century (case study method).