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U.S. Supreme Court

Machibroda v. United States, 368 U.S. 487 (1962)

Machibroda v. United States

No. 69

Argued December 5, 1961

Decided February 19, 1962

368 U.S. 487


In a Federal District Court, petitioner pleaded guilty to two charges of bank robbery. Before sentencing, the Judge inquired whether counsel desired to make any statement, but he did not direct any similar inquiry to petitioner personally. He sentenced petitioner to imprisonment for 25 years on one charge and 15 years on the other, the sentences to run consecutively. Several years later, petitioner filed in the same Court a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to vacate and set aside the sentence on the grounds that the Judge had not asked petitioner whether he wished to speak in his own behalf before sentence was imposed, as required by Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 32(a), that he had accepted the guilty pleas without first determining that they had been made voluntarily, as required by Rule 11, and that the pleas of guilty had not been voluntary, but had been induced by promises and threats made by the prosecuting attorney. In support of the last ground, petitioner filed an affidavit setting out detailed and specific allegations. The prosecuting attorney filed an affidavit denying any promises or coercion. Without a hearing, the District Judge determined that petitioner's allegations concerning an agreement were false, and denied the motion.


1. Failure of the Judge specifically to inquire at the time of sentencing whether petitioner personally wished to make a statement in his own behalf is not of itself an error that can be raised by motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 or Rule 35. P. 368 U. S. 489.

2. The District Court did not proceed in conformity with 28 U.S.C. § 2255 when it made findings on controverted issues of fact without notice to petitioner and without a hearing, since this was not a case where "the motion and the files and records of the case conclusively show that the prisoner is entitled to no relief." Pp. 368 U. S. 489-496.

280 F.2d 379, judgment vacated and cause remanded.

Page 368 U. S. 488

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