NACDL - Class v. United States

Class v. United States

Brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the American Civil Liberties Union as Amici Curiae in Support of Petitioner. 

Brief filed: 05/19/2017

Documents

Class v. United States

United States Supreme Court; Case No. 16-424

Prior Decision

On petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Case No. 15-3015, on appeal from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, No. 1:13-cr-00253-1

Question Presented

Whether a guilty plea inherently waives a defendant's right to challenge the constitutionality of his statute of conviction.

Argument

Amici seek the Court’s confirmation of the Menna-Blackledge default rule under which a defendant’s right to appellate review of a claim that a statute is unconstitutional is not waived sub silentio through an unconditional guilty plea. The Menna-Blackledge doctrine serves the public interest in testing the constitutionality of criminal statutes. Plea bargaining dominates the criminal justice system. Post-plea challenges to unconstitutional statutes are important. The government's proposed alternatives are no substitute for direct appeal. Rule 11(a)(2) does not provide a meaningful alternative to direct appeal. Collateral review is no substitute for direct appeal under Menna and Blackledge.

Author(s)

Daniel N. Lerman and Kathleen Shen, Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck, Untereiner & Sauber LLP, Washington, DC; Ruthanne M. Deutsch and Hyland Hunt, Deutsch Hunt PLLC, Washington, DC; Jonathan Hacker, NACDL, Washington, DC.