Mann v. Richardson, No. 153

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtWHITE
Citation397 U.S. 759,90 S.Ct. 1441,25 L.Ed.2d 763
PartiesDaniel McMANN, Warden, et al., Petitioners, v. Willie RICHARDSON et al
Decision Date04 May 1970
Docket NumberNo. 153

397 U.S. 759
90 S.Ct. 1441
25 L.Ed.2d 763
Daniel McMANN, Warden, et al., Petitioners,

v.

Willie RICHARDSON et al.

No. 153.
Argued Feb. 24, 1970.
Decided May 4, 1970.

Page 760

Brenda Soloff, New York City, for petitioners.

Michael R. Juviler, New York City, for the District Attorney of New York County, as amicus curiae, by special leave of Court.

Gretchen White Oberman, New York City, for respondents.

Mr. Justice WHITE delivered the opinion of the Court.

The petition for certiorari, which we granted, McMann v. Ross, 396 U.S. 813, 90 S.Ct. 65, 24 L.Ed.2d 67 (1969), seeks reversal of three separate judgments of the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ordering hearings on petitions for habeas corpus filed by the respondents in this case.1 The principal issue before us is whether and to what extent an otherwise valid guilty plea may be impeached in collateral proceedings by assertions or proof that the plea was motivated by a prior coerced confession. We find ourselves in substantial disagreement with the Court of Appeals.

Page 761

I

The three respondents now before us are Dash, Richardson, and Williams. We first state the essential facts involved as to each.

Dash: In February 1959, respondent Dash was charged with first-degree robbery which, because Dash had previously been convicted of a felony, was punishable by up to 60 years' imprisonment.2 After pleading guilty to robbery in the second degree in April, he was sentenced to a term of eight to 12 years as a second-felony offender.3 His petition for collateral relief in the state courts in 1963 was denied without a hearing.4

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Relief was then sought in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York where his petition for habeas corpus alleged that his guilty plea was the illegal product of a coerced confession and of the trial judge's threat to impose a 60-year sentence if he was convicted after a plea of not guilty. His petition asserted that he had been beaten, refused counsel, and threatened with false charges prior to his confession and that the trial judge's threat was made during an off-the-record colloquy in one of Dash's appearances in court prior to the date of his plea of guilty. Dash also asserted that his court-appointed attorney had advised pleading guilty since Dash did not 'stand a chance due to the alleged confession signed' by him. The District Court denied the petition without a hearing because 'a voluntary plea of guilty entered on advice of counsel constitutes a waiver of all non-jurisdictional defects in any prior stage of the proceedings against (defendant),' citing United States ex rel. Glenn v. McMann, 349 F.2d 1018 (C.A.2d Cir. 1965), cert. denied, 383 U.S. 915, 86 S.Ct. 906, 15 L.Ed.2d 669 (1966), and other cases. The allegation of coercion by the trial judge did not call for a hearing since the prosecutor had filed an affidavit in the state court categorically denying that the trial judge ever threatened the defendant. Dash then appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Richardson: Respondent Richardson was indicted in April 1963 for murder in the first degree. Two attorneys were assigned to represent Richardson. He initially pleaded not guilty but in July withdrew his plea and pleaded guilty to murder in the second degree, specifically admitting at the time that he struck the victim with a knife. He was convicted and sentenced to a term of 30 years to life. Following the denial without a hearing of his application for collateral relief in the

Page 763

state courts,5 Richardson filed his petition for habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York, alleging in conclusory fashion that his plea of guilty was induced by a coerced confession and by ineffective court-appointed counsel. His petition was denied without a hearing, and he appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, including with his appellate brief a supplemental affidavit in which he alleged that he was beaten into confessing the crime, that his assigned attorney conferred with him only 10 minutes prior to the day the plea of guilty was taken, that he advised his attorney that he did not want to plead guilty to something he did not do, and that his attorney advised him to plead guilty to avoid the electric chair, saying that 'this was not the proper time to bring up the confession' and that Richardson 'could later explain by a writ of habeas corpus how my confession had been beaten out of me.'

Williams: In February 1956, respondent Williams was indicted for five felonies, including rape and robbery. He pleaded guilty to robbery in the second degree in March and was sentenced in April to a term of 7 1/2 to 15 years. After unsuccessful applications for collateral relief in the state courts,6 he petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, asserting that his plea was the consequence of a coerced confession and was made without an understanding of the nature of the

Page 764

charge and the consequences of the plea. In his petition and in documents supporting it, allegations were made that he had been handcuffed to a desk while being interrogated, that he was threatened with a pistol and physically abused, and that his attorney, in advising him to plead guilty, ignored his alibi defense and represented that his plea would be to a misdemeanor charge rather than to a felony charge. The petition was denied without a hearing and Williams appealed.

The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed in each case, sitting en banc and dividing six to three in Dash's case7 and disposing of Richardson's and Williams' cases in decisions by three-judge panels.8 In each case it was directed that a hearing be held on the petition for habeas corpus.9 It was the Court of Appeals' view that

Page 765

a plea of guilty is an effective waiver of pretrial irregularities only if the plea is voluntary and that a plea is not voluntary if it is the consequence of an involuntary confession.10 That the petitioner was represented by counsel and denied the existence of coercion or promises when tendering his plea does not foreclose a hearing on his petition for habeas corpus alleging matters outside the state court record. Although conclusory allegations would in no case suffice, the allegations in each of these cases concerning the manner in which the confession was coerced and the connection between the confession and the plea were deemed sufficient to require a hearing. The law required this much, the Court of Appeals thought, at least in New York, where prior to Jackson v. Denno, 378 U.S. 368, 84 S.Ct. 1774, 12 L.Ed.2d 908 (1964), constitutionally acceptable procedures were unavailable to a defendant to test the voluntariness of his confession. The Court of Appeals also ordered a hearing in each case for reasons other than that the plea was claimed to rest on a coerced confession which the defendant had no adequate opportunity to test in the state courts. In the Dash case, the additional issue to be considered was whether the trial judge coerced the guilty plea by threats as to the probable sentence after trial and conviction on a plea of not guilty; in Richardson, the additional issue was the inadequacy of counsel allegedly arising from the

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short period of consultation and counsel's advice to the effect that the confession issue could be raised after a plea of guilty; and in Williams, the additional question was the alleged failure of counsel to consider Williams' alibi defense and to make it clear that he was pleading to a felony rather than to a misdemeanor.

II

The core of the Court of Appeals' holding is the proposition that if in a collateral proceeding a guilty plea is shown to have been triggered by a coerced confession—if there would have been no plea had there been no confession—the plea is vulnerable at least in cases coming from New York where the guilty plea was taken prior to Jackson v. Denno, supra. We are unable to agree with the Court of Appeals on this proposition.

A conviction after a plea of guilty normally rests on the defendant's own admission in open court that he committed the acts with which he is charged. Brady v. United States, 397 U.S. 742, at 748, 90 S.Ct. 1463, at 1468, 25 L.Ed.2d 747; McCarthy v. United States, 394 U.S. 459, 466, 89 S.Ct. 1166, 1170—1171, 22 L.Ed.2d 418 (1969). That admission may not be compelled, and since the plea is also a waiver of trial—and unless the applicable law otherwise provides,11 a waiver of the right to contest the admissibility of any evidence the State might have offered against the defendant—it must be an intelligent act 'done with sufficient awareness of the relevant circumstances and likely consequences.' Brady v. United States, 397 U.S., at 748, 90 S.Ct., at 1469, 25 L.Ed.2d 747.

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For present purposes, we put aside those cases whrer the defendant has his own reasons for pleading guilty wholly aside from the strength of the case against him as well as those cases where the defendant, although he would have gone to trial had he thought the State could not prove its case, is motivated by evidence against him independent of the confession. In these cases, as the Court of Appeals recognized, the confession, even if coerced, is not a sufficient factor in the plea to justify relief. Neither do we have before us the uncounseled defendant, see Pennsylvania ex rel. Herman v. Claudy, 350 U.S. 116, 76 S.Ct. 223, 100 L.Ed. 126 (1956), nor the situation where the circumstances that coerced the confession have abiding impact and also taint the plea. Cf. Chambers v. Florida, 309 U.S. 227, 60 S.Ct. 472, 84 L.Ed. 716 (1940). It is not disputed that in such cases a guilty plea is properly open to challenge.12

The issue on which we differ with the Court of Appeals arises in those situations involving the counseled...

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6294 practice notes
  • Hays v. Farwell, No. 3:04-cv-0011-RLH-VPC.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Nevada
    • March 22, 2007
    ...Assistance of Trial Counsel Hays next claims that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. In McMann v. Richardson, 397 U.S. 759, 771 n. 14, 90 S.Ct. 1441, 25 L.Ed.2d 763 (1970), the Supreme Court declared that "the right to counsel is the right to the effective assistance of......
  • 44 274 Ellis v. Dyson 8212 130, No. 73
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • May 19, 1975
    ...do not claim that their nolo contendere pleas were either involuntary or based on inadequate legal advice. See McMann v. Richardson, 397 U.S. 759, 90 S.Ct. 1441, 25 L.Ed.2d 763 (1970). Nor is this case like Blackledge v. Perry, 417 U.S. 21, 94 S.Ct. 2098, 40 L.Ed.2d 628 (1974). In that case......
  • McCord v. Bailey, No. 79-1085
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • October 15, 1980
    ...(1978); Gard, Ineffective Assistance of Counsel-Standards and Remedies, 41 Mo.L.Rev. 483, 495-96 (1976). See also McMann v. Richardson, 397 U.S. 759, 771, 90 S.Ct. 1441, 1449, 25 L.Ed.2d 763 (1970); Restatement (Second) of Torts § 299A (1965); Bines, Remedying Ineffective Representation in ......
  • Garza v. Idaho, No. 17-1026
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • February 27, 2019
    ..." 139 S.Ct. 744 Strickland v. Washington , 466 U.S. 668, 686, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984) (quoting McMann v. Richardson , 397 U.S. 759, 771, n. 14, 90 S.Ct. 1441, 25 L.Ed.2d 763 (1970) ). Under Strickland , a defendant who claims ineffective assistance of counsel must prove (1) "t......
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6310 cases
  • Hays v. Farwell, No. 3:04-cv-0011-RLH-VPC.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Nevada
    • March 22, 2007
    ...Assistance of Trial Counsel Hays next claims that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. In McMann v. Richardson, 397 U.S. 759, 771 n. 14, 90 S.Ct. 1441, 25 L.Ed.2d 763 (1970), the Supreme Court declared that "the right to counsel is the right to the effective assistance of......
  • 44 274 Ellis v. Dyson 8212 130, No. 73
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • May 19, 1975
    ...do not claim that their nolo contendere pleas were either involuntary or based on inadequate legal advice. See McMann v. Richardson, 397 U.S. 759, 90 S.Ct. 1441, 25 L.Ed.2d 763 (1970). Nor is this case like Blackledge v. Perry, 417 U.S. 21, 94 S.Ct. 2098, 40 L.Ed.2d 628 (1974). In that case......
  • McCord v. Bailey, No. 79-1085
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • October 15, 1980
    ...(1978); Gard, Ineffective Assistance of Counsel-Standards and Remedies, 41 Mo.L.Rev. 483, 495-96 (1976). See also McMann v. Richardson, 397 U.S. 759, 771, 90 S.Ct. 1441, 1449, 25 L.Ed.2d 763 (1970); Restatement (Second) of Torts § 299A (1965); Bines, Remedying Ineffective Representation in ......
  • Garza v. Idaho, No. 17-1026
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • February 27, 2019
    ..." 139 S.Ct. 744 Strickland v. Washington , 466 U.S. 668, 686, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984) (quoting McMann v. Richardson , 397 U.S. 759, 771, n. 14, 90 S.Ct. 1441, 25 L.Ed.2d 763 (1970) ). Under Strickland , a defendant who claims ineffective assistance of counsel must prove (1) "t......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
4 books & journal articles
  • GROUPS AND RIGHTS IN INSTITUTIONAL REFORM LITIGATION.
    • United States
    • Notre Dame Law Review Vol. 97 Nbr. 2, January 2022
    • January 1, 2022
    ...Id. at 914. (183) See id. at 884. (184) See id at 887. (185) Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335, 344 (1963). (186) McMann v. Richardson, 397 U.S. 759, 771 (187) See Michigan v. Harvey, 494 U.S. 344, 348 (1990) (using this language to describe "[t]he essence" of the Sixth Amendment right und......
  • Equalizing Access to Evidence: Criminal Defendants and the Stored Communications Act.
    • United States
    • Yale Law Journal Vol. 131 Nbr. 5, March 2022
    • March 1, 2022
    ...(286.) "It has long been recognized that the right to counsel is the right to the effective assistance of counsel." McMann v. Richardson, 397 U.S. 759, 771 n.14 (1970). (287.) 466 U.S. 668, 685 (1984). (288.) Id. at 691. (289.) McConkie, supra note 248, at 37 (citing Russell D. Covey, Plea-......
  • Restructuring Public Defense After Padilla.
    • United States
    • Stanford Law Review Vol. 74 Nbr. 1, January 2022
    • January 1, 2022
    ...and non-immigrants facing criminal charges."). (186.) Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356, 374 (2010) (quoting McMann v. Richardson, 397 U.S. 759,771 (187.) Id. (188.) For analysis of the rise in denaturalization cases under the Trump administration, see Cassandra Burke Robertson & Irina ......
  • The Supreme Court of the United States, 1969-1970
    • United States
    • Political Research Quarterly Nbr. 23-4, December 1970
    • December 1, 1970
    ...in the second degree. Having done thishe could not later claim that the plea was based on a coerced confession. McMannv. Richardson, 397 U.S. 759; 90 S. Ct. 1441. Opinion by Justice White. Vote:5-3, Brennan, Marshall, and Douglas A deposition given by a witness at a preliminary hearing can ......

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