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October 6, 2005

Minnesota Supreme Court invalidates post-conviction plea waiver

The lawfulness and appropriateness of appeal waivers post-Booker is a lively and interesting topic that I have covered in posts here and here and is the subject of an important recent paper by Nancy King and Michael O'Neill discussed here.  Providing an interesting twist on the debate over appeal waivers, the Minnesota Supreme Court today held in Spann v. Minnesota, No. A04-278  (Minn. Oct. 6, 2005) (available here) that an "agreement made between the state and the defendant, who has been convicted after trial, requiring the defendant to waive all rights to appellate review in exchange for a reduced sentence is invalid as a matter of public policy and a violation of due process."

The majority opinion invalidating the defendant's post-conviction appeal waiver suggests a distinction between pre- and post-conviction appeal waivers.  But much of the Spann decision's reasoning would seem to cast doubt on pre-conviction waivers.  Indeed, one dissent suggests that post-conviction appeal waivers are less worrisome than such waivers secured pre-conviction through traditional plea bargains.

October 6, 2005 at 04:33 PM | Permalink

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