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In Atkins v. Issues of substantive due process may arise if the government seeks to compel the medication of a person found to be incompetent to stand trial. In Washington v. In Sell v. First, however, the government must engage in a fact-specific inquiry as to whether this interest is important in a particular case. Third, the court must find that less intrusive treatments are unlikely to achieve substantially the same results.

Guilty Pleas. Those circumstances will vary, but a constant factor is that, when a plea rests in any significant degree on a promise or agreement of the prosecutor, so that it can be said to be part of the inducement or consideration, such promise must be fulfilled. The Court viewed as highly undesirable the restriction of judicial discretion in sentencing by requiring adherence to rules of evidence which would exclude highly relevant and informative material. Further, disclosure of such information to the defense could well dry up sources who feared retribution or embarrassment.

Thus, hearsay and rumors can be considered in sentencing. In Gardner v. Florida , however, the Court limited the application of Williams to capital cases. Grayson , a noncapital case, the Court relied heavily on Williams in holding that a sentencing judge may properly consider his belief that the defendant was untruthful in his trial testimony in deciding to impose a more severe sentence than he would otherwise have imposed.

There are various sentencing proceedings, however, that so implicate substantial rights that additional procedural protections are required. Patterson , the Court considered a defendant who had been convicted of taking indecent liberties, which carried a maximum sentence of ten years, but was sentenced under a sex offenders statute to an indefinite term of one day to life.

The sex offenders law, the Court observed, did not make the commission of the particular offense the basis for sentencing. Instead, by triggering a new hearing to determine whether the convicted person was a public threat, a habitual offender, or mentally ill, the law in effect constituted a new charge that must be accompanied by procedural safeguards. And in Mempa v. Rhay , the Court held that, when sentencing is deferred subject to probation and the terms of probation are allegedly violated so that the convicted defendant is returned for sentencing, he must then be represented by counsel, inasmuch as it is a point in the process where substantial rights of the defendant may be affected.

Due process considerations can also come into play in sentencing if the state attempts to withhold relevant information from the jury. For instance, in Simmons v. South Carolina , the Court held that due process requires that if prosecutor makes an argument for the death penalty based on the future dangerousness of the defendant to society, the jury must then be informed if the only alternative to a death sentence is a life sentence without possibility of parole.

How California’s Pretrial Detention and Bail System Unfairly Punishes Poor People | HRW

Angelone , the Court refused to apply the reasoning of Simmons because the defendant was not technically parole ineligible at time of sentencing. A defendant should not be penalized for exercising a right to appeal. Thus, it is a denial of due process for a judge to sentence a convicted defendant on retrial to a longer sentence than he received after the first trial if the object of the sentence is to punish the defendant for having successfully appealed his first conviction or to discourage similar appeals by others.

Because the possibility of vindictiveness in resentencing is de minimis when it is the jury that sentences, however, the requirement of justifying a more severe sentence upon resentencing is inapplicable to jury sentencing, at least in the absence of a showing that the jury knew of the prior vacated sentence. Here the Court reasoned that a trial may well afford the court insights into the nature of the crime and the character of the defendant that were not available following the initial guilty plea. Corrective Process: Appeals and Other Remedies.

A review by an appellate court of the final judgment in a criminal case, however grave the offense of which the accused is convicted, was not at common law and is not now a necessary element of due process of law. It is wholly within the discretion of the State to allow or not to allow such a review. A state is not free, however, to have no corrective process in which defendants may pursue remedies for federal constitutional violations. In Frank v. The mode by which federal constitutional rights are to be vindicated after conviction is for the government concerned to determine. States are free to devise their own systems of review in criminal cases.

A State may decide whether to have direct appeals in such cases, and if so under what circumstances.

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A State may provide that the protection of rights granted by the Federal Constitution be sought through the writ of habeas corpus or coram nobis. It may use each of these ancient writs in its common law scope, or it may put them to new uses; or it may afford remedy by a simple motion brought either in the court of original conviction or at the place of detention.


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So long as the rights under the United States Constitution may be pursued, it is for a State and not for this Court to define the mode by which they may be vindicated. If he is unsuccessful, or if a state does not provide an adequate mode of redress, then the defendant may petition a federal court for relief through a writ of habeas corpus. When appellate or other corrective process is made available, because it is no less a part of the process of law under which a defendant is held in custody, it becomes subject to scrutiny for any alleged unconstitutional deprivation of life or liberty.

Dempsey , while insisting that it was not departing from precedent, the Court directed a federal district court in which petitioners had sought a writ of habeas corpus to make an independent investigation of the facts alleged by the petitioners—mob domination of their trial—notwithstanding that the state appellate court had ruled against the legal sufficiency of these same allegations.

Mississippi and now taken for granted. Even the states that had not enacted statutes dealing specifically with access to DNA evidence must, under the Due Process Clause, provide adequate postconviction relief procedures. We would soon have to decide if there is a constitutional obligation to preserve forensic evidence that might later be tested. If so, for how long? Would it be different for different types of evidence?

Would the State also have some obligation to gather such evidence in the first place? How much, and when? Rights of Prisoners. He is for the time being the slave of the state. We are not unmindful that prison officials must be accorded latitude in the administration of prison affairs, and that prisoners necessarily are subject to appropriate rules and regulations.

But persons in prison, like other individuals, have the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. Prisoners have the right to petition for redress of grievances, which includes access to the courts for purposes of presenting their complaints, and to bring actions in federal courts to recover for damages wrongfully done them by prison administrators.

Family & Divorce Case Law

Prisoners have a right to be free of racial segregation in prisons, except for the necessities of prison security and discipline. In Turner v. First, there must be a rational relation to a legitimate, content-neutral objective, such as prison security, broadly defined.

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Availability of other avenues for exercise of the inmate right suggests reasonableness. McDonnell , the Court promulgated due process standards to govern the imposition of discipline upon prisoners. Ordinarily, an inmate has no right to representation by retained or appointed counsel. Finally, only a partial right to an impartial tribunal was recognized, the Court ruling that limitations imposed on the discretion of a committee of prison officials sufficed for this purpose. Determination whether due process requires a hearing before a prisoner is transferred from one institution to another requires a close analysis of the applicable statutes and regulations as well as a consideration of the particular harm suffered by the transferee.

On the one hand, the Court found that no hearing need be held prior to the transfer from one prison to another prison in which the conditions were substantially less favorable. Because the state had not conferred any right to remain in the facility to which the prisoner was first assigned, defeasible upon the commission of acts for which transfer is a punishment, prison officials had unfettered discretion to transfer any prisoner for any reason or for no reason at all; consequently, there was nothing to hold a hearing about. Transfer of a prisoner to a high security facility, with an attendant loss of the right to parole, gave rise to a liberty interest, although the due process requirements to protect this interest are limited.

First, the statute gave the inmate a liberty interest, because it presumed that he would not be moved absent a finding that he was suffering from a mental disease or defect. The kind of hearing that is required before a state may force a mentally ill prisoner to take antipsychotic drugs against his will was at issue in Washington v. Probation and Parole.

Coerced Guilty Pleas

Because both of these dispositions are statutory privileges granted by the governmental authority, it was long assumed that the administrators of the systems did not have to accord procedural due process either in the granting stage or in the revocation stage. Now, both granting and revocation are subject to due process analysis, although the results tend to be disparate. Thus, in Mempa v. Rhay , the trial judge had deferred sentencing and placed the convicted defendant on probation; when facts subsequently developed that indicated a violation of the conditions of probation, he was summoned and summarily sentenced to prison.

The Court held that he was entitled to counsel at the deferred sentencing hearing. In Morrissey v. Brewer a unanimous Court held that parole revocations must be accompanied by the usual due process hearing and notice requirements. Its termination calls for some orderly process, however informal. Minimal due process, the Court held, requires that at both stages of the revocation process—the arrest of the parolee and the formal revocation—the parolee is entitled to certain rights.