411 U.S. 954 (1973)

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U.S. Supreme Court

NEELY v. PENNSYLVANIA , 411 U.S. 954 (1973)

411 U.S. 954

Harold NEELY
No. 72-6206.

Supreme Court of the United States

April 23, 1973

On petition for writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania for the Eastern District.

The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, with whom Mr. Justice STEWART and Mr. Justice MARSHALL concur, dissenting.

This case presents a question which this Court has not previously answered-under what circumstances a defendant, prior to sentencing, may withdraw a guilty plea. [Footnote 1]

Page 411 U.S. 954 , 955

Harold Neely, the petitioner, was indicted by a Berks County, Pennsylvania, grand jury on a charge of murder. [Footnote 2] Although petitioner initially pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on November 20, 1969, when his case was called for trial on March 23, 1970, he pleaded guilty on the advice of counsel and with the consent of the district attorney to the lesser included offense of voluntary manslaughter. There is no question that the trial judge, in accepting the plea, complied with the mandate of Boykin v. Alabama, 395 U.S. 238, that the record disclose that the plea was entered voluntarily and understandingly. At the same time, upon motion of the district attorney, the charge of murder was withdrawn.

On April 23, 1970, petitioner filed a petition for a rule to show cause why he would not be permitted to withdraw his plea. He alleged that the plea was induced upon advice of counsel 'that should the defendant take the witness stand in his own defense, he is the same as any other witness and his credibility is in issue, and that the Commonwealth therefore may introduce evidence of his prior criminal record of conviction . . ..'3 At the [411 U.S. 954 , 956]

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