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SANTOBELLO V. NEW YORK, 404 U. S. 257 (1971)

U.S. Supreme Court

Santobello v. New York, 404 U.S. 257 (1971)

Santobello v. New York

No. 70-98

Argued November 15, 1971

Decided December 20, 1971

404 U.S. 257


After negotiations with the prosecutor, petitioner withdrew his previous not-guilty plea to two felony counts and pleaded guilty to a lesser included offense, the prosecutor having agreed to make no recommendation as to sentence. At petitioner's appearance for sentencing many months later, a new prosecutor recommended the maximum sentence, which the judge (who stated that he was uninfluenced by that recommendation) imposed. Petitioner attempted unsuccessfully to withdraw his guilty plea, and his conviction was affirmed on appeal.

Held: The interests of justice and proper recognition of the prosecution's duties in relation to promises made in connection with "plea bargaining" require that the judgment be vacated and that the case be remanded to the state courts for further consideration as to whether the circumstances require only that there be specific performance of the agreement on the plea (in which case petitioner should be resentenced by a different judge), or petitioner should be afforded the relief he seeks of withdrawing his guilty plea. Pp. 404 U. S. 260-263.

35 App.Div.2d 1084, 316 N.Y.S.2d 194, vacated and remanded.

BURGER, C.J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which DOUGLAS, WHITE, and BLACKMUN, JJ., joined. DOUGLAS, J., filed a concurring opinion, post, p. 404 U. S. 263. MARSHALL, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which BRENNAN and STEWART, JJ., joined, post, p. 404 U. S. 267.

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