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What is the Alford Plea and can it help?

My fiance bought a bunch of stolen property and the bill of sale has gone missing since he was put in jail. He's facing a 3-35. I'm not sure what all his charges are, I just know he's being charged with 3 separate felonies. Now, he asked me to do a search on the Alford Plea. I was just wondering if someone could help me out on this one. If you know what it is and if it would do any good in his situation. He's wanting to just do a 10 flat. I guess he understands that he's going to have to do some time no matter what. Sooo....any help? Thanks!

1 Answer

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    You accept guilt without ever admitting to the charges.

    In the law of the United States, an Alford plea is a plea in criminal court in which the defendant does not admit the act and asserts innocence, but admits that sufficient evidence exists with which the prosecution could likely convince a judge or jury to find the defendant guilty. Upon receiving an Alford plea from a defendant, the court may immediately pronounce the defendant guilty and impose sentence as if the defendant had otherwise been convicted of the crime.

    The Alford plea differs slightly from the nolo contendere ("no contest") plea. An Alford plea is simply a form of a guilty plea, and, as with other guilty pleas, the judge must see there is some factual basis for the plea. Therefore, a defendant's prior conviction via an Alford plea can be considered in future trials; and it will count as a "strike" if a three strikes law applies. On the other hand, a nolo contendere plea is in no way an admission of guilt, and it cannot be introduced in future trials as evidence of incorrigibility. However, courts do not have to accept a plea of nolo contendere, and this plea is not permitted in some states.

    The Alford plea originated in the United States Supreme Court case of North Carolina v. Alford (1970), 400 US 25. Under subsequent case law, an Alford plea generally has the same effect as a plea of guilty with respect to sentencing, and use of the conviction as an aggravating factor if the defendant is later convicted of another offense.

    The Alford plea has been used in connection with plea bargains, as in the cases of Lee Boyd Malvo and Marcus Epstein.

    Source(s): "10 flat..." What an interesting way to look at it.
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