BORDENKIRCHER V. HAYES, 434 U. S. 357 (1978)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Bordenkircher v. Hayes, 434 U.S. 357 (1978)

Bordenkircher v. Hayes

No. 76-1334

Argued November 9, 1977

Decided January 18, 1978

434 U.S. 357


The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment is not violated when.a state prosecutor carries out a threat made during plea negotiations to have the accused reindicted on more serious charges on which he is plainly subject to prosecution if he does not plead guilty to the offense with which he was originally charged. Pp. 434 U. S. 360-365.


"[T]he guilty plea and the often concomitant plea bargain are important components of this country's criminal justice system. Properly administered, they can benefit all concerned."

Blackledge v. Allison, 431 U. S. 63, 431 U. S. 71. Pp. 434 U. S. 361-362

(b) Though to punish a person because he has done what the law allows violates due process, see North Carolina v. Pearce, 395 U. S. 711, 395 U. S. 738, there is no such element of punishment in the "give-and-take" of plea bargaining as long as the accused is free to accept or reject the prosecutor's offer. Pp. 434 U. S. 362-364.

(c) This Court has accepted as constitutionally legitimate the simple reality that the prosecutor's interest at the bargaining table is to persuade the defendant to forgo his right to plead not guilty, and, in pursuing that course here, the prosecutor did not exceed constitutional bounds. Pp. 434 U. S. 364-365.

547 F.2d 42, reversed.

STEWART, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J.,and WHITE, REHNQUIST, and STEVENS, JJ., joined. BLACKMUN, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BRENNAN and MARSHALL, .JJ., joined, post, p. 434 U. S. 365. POWELL, J., filed a dissenting opinion, post, p. 434 U. S. 368.

Page 434 U. S. 358

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