Judges have to observe certain formalities when taking
pleas from defendants who plan to formally admit guilt. These formalities are
designed to ensure that the results are fair.
Why do defendants who are obviously guilty plead “not guilty”?
Question: Ever hear about a criminal prosecution based on overwhelming evidence, then find out that the defendant pleaded “not guilty” in court?
To plead guilty, do defendants have to understand what’s going on?
Before a defendant enters a guilty plea, the judge must confirm that the plea is “voluntary and intelligent.” (Court
What is the standard for determining whether someone is competent to plead guilty?
In order to plead guilty, defendants must be sufficiently aware of the circumstances and consequences of the plea. Otherwise, judges must reject their pleas.
Does a judge have to confirm that the defendant committed the crime before accepting a guilty plea?
In order to plead guilty, a defendant must enter the plea voluntarily and intelligently
Can defendants plead guilty to different crimes than those they committed?
Defendants occasionally plead guilty to crimes that they haven’t committed—and that the prosecution knows they didn’t commit.