409 U.S. 959 (1972)

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U.S. Supreme Court

MARTINEZ v. MANCUSI , 409 U.S. 959 (1972)

409 U.S. 959

Vincent R. MANCUSI, Warden.
No. 71-6518.

Supreme Court of the United States

October 24, 1972

Rehearing Denied Dec. 4, 1972. See 409 U.S. 1050.

On petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

Mr. Justice MARSHALL, with whom Mr. Justice DOUGLAS concurs, dissenting.

I dissent. I think petitioner's guilty plea entered in New York state court was clearly involuntary, particularly, after our decision last Term in Santobello v. New York, 404 U.S. 257 ( 1971). On October 23, 1968, petitioner was charged in an indictment returned in New York state court with one count of criminally selling a dangerous drug in the second degree1 and one count of criminally selling a dangerous drug in the third degree. [Footnote 2] In November 1968, a second indictment was returned against petitioner in state court charging him with a single count of criminally selling a dangerous drug in the third degree. Prior to the 1969 amendments of the New York Penal Law, criminally selling a dangerous drug in the second degree was punishable by a maximum of 15 years' imprisonment, while the maximum sentence under a third degree charge was seven years' imprisonment. [Footnote 3] At arraignment, petitioner pleaded not guilty to all the charges; the case was set for trial. On February 17, 1969, the State moved for trial. Before the proceedings commenced, the prosecutor, the defense counsel, and the trial judge met in the judge's

Page 409 U.S. 959 , 960

chambers-in the absence of the petitioner-to discuss the case. When the case was subsequently called for disposition, the prosecutor began by stating that he understood petitioner wished to withdraw his earlier pleas of not guilty and to 'enter a plea of guilty to the second count of [the October 23] indictment . . . charging [him] with the crime of Criminally Selling a Dangerous Drug in the Third Degree.' At this point the court interrupted the prosecutor and the following exchange occurred:

    'The Court: Wait a minute. Third Degree?
    '[Prosecutor]: The second count, Your Honor, of the [first] indictment . . ..
    '[Defense Counsel]: There are two counts of Second Degree and one of Third Degree.
    'The Court: That is not what I understood.

* * * * *

    '(Whereupon a conversation was had off the record).
    'The Court: . . . [A]s far as I am concerned, it may be that two indictments were to be disposed of through one plea, but it was not a plea to Selling a Dangerous Drug in the Third Degree. That was no part of our talk.
    '[Defense Counsel]: It was this afternoon, Judge.
    'The Court: It was not part of our talk.'

Unable to obtain the plea he had expected, defense counsel requested a one-day adjournment because he was 'not prepared to go to trial.'

    'The Court: The case will proceed to trial or disposition right now.
    '[Defense Counsel]: . . . This case was answered ready by my office at the February calendar, but I was not informed until this morning that we were proceeding. And I would again respectfully request [409 U.S. 959 , 961]

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