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Criminal Law Litigation White Collar Crime

Judicial Skepticism Mounts Over the Use and Reach of Appellate Waivers

A defendant who pleads guilty is usually required to waive a host of constitutional and statutory rights, such as the right to a jury trial, the right to confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses, the right to testify and present evidence. However, many defendants are also required to waive their right to appeal in order to receive a favorable plea agreement with the government.

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A defendant who pleads guilty is usually required to waive a host of constitutional and statutory rights, such as the right to a jury trial, the right to confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses, the right to testify and present evidence. Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(b). By necessity, a defendant who wishes to gain the potential sentencing benefits of pleading guilty must waive these trial rights. However, many defendants are also required to waive their right to appeal in order to receive a favorable plea agreement with the government. In federal court, these agreements typically require the waiver of the right to appeal when the sentence is within or below an agreed-upon range. In addition, only with the consent of the government and the court may a defendant enter a conditional plea in federal court and thereby reserve the right to appeal an adverse determination of a pretrial motion (such as a suppression motion or a motion in limine). Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(a)(2).

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