The Mysterious Alford Plea Raises Evidentiary Challenges

Law360, New York (June 7, 2016, 5:03 PM EDT) -- Kenji Price

Amy Woodward A rarely used procedural mechanism that allows a criminal defendant to plead guilty while maintaining his innocence has raised challenging evidentiary issues for civil litigation practitioners.

A defendant entering an Alford plea acknowledges that the prosecution has the evidence necessary to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, but nevertheless maintains that she is innocent. (During an ordinary guilty plea, a defendant both acknowledges that she engaged in unlawful conduct and pleads guilty to the charged offense(s).) Named after North Carolina v. Alford, the Alford plea empowers criminal defendants by allowing them to bargain for reduced prison sentences,...

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