United States v. Broce
Annotate this Case
488 U.S. 563 (1989)
U.S. Supreme Court
United States v. Broce, 488 U.S. 563 (1989)
United States v. Broce
Argued October 4, 1988
Decided January 23, 1989
488 U.S. 563
Respondents pleaded guilty to two separate conspiracy indictments in a single proceeding in District Court. One indictment charged respondents with entering into an agreement to rig bids on a certain highway project in violation of the Sherman Act, and the other made similar charges with respect to a different project. After the District Court conducted a hearing, at which respondents were represented by counsel, and found the guilty pleas free and voluntary and made with an understanding of their consequences and of the nature of the charges, convictions were entered on the pleas and sentences were imposed. Respondents subsequently filed a motion to vacate the convictions and sentences under the second indictment, contending, in reliance on the District Court's holding in another case involving the same bid-rigging conspiracy, that only one conspiracy existed and that double jeopardy principles required their convictions and sentences to be set aside. The District Court denied the motion, but the Court of Appeals reversed, holding that, notwithstanding their guilty pleas, respondents were entitled to introduce evidence outside the original record to support their one-conspiracy claim, since, in pleading guilty, they admitted only the acts described in the indictments, not their legal consequences, and that, moreover, since the indictments did not expressly state that the two conspiracies were separate, no such concessions could be inferred from the pleas. On remand, the District Court granted the motion, finding that there was only a single conspiracy, and the Court of Appeals affirmed.
Held: Respondents' double jeopardy challenge is foreclosed by their guilty pleas and convictions. Pp. 488 U. S. 569-576.
(a) In holding that the admissions inherent in a guilty plea "go only to the acts constituting the conspiracy," the Court of Appeals misapprehended the nature and effect of the plea. By entering a guilty plea, the accused does not simply state that he did the discrete acts described in the indictment; he admits guilt of a substantive crime. Here, the indictments alleged two distinct agreements, and the Court of Appeals erred in concluding that, because the indictments did not explicitly state that the conspiracies were separate, respondents did not concede their separate nature by pleading guilty to both. When respondents pleaded
guilty to both indictments, they conceded guilt to two separate offenses. Pp. 488 U. S. 569-571.
(b) By pleading guilty, respondents relinquished the opportunity to receive a factual hearing on their double jeopardy claim. That their attorney did not discuss double jeopardy issues with them prior to their pleas, and that they had not considered the possibility of raising a double jeopardy defense before pleading, did not entitle respondents to claim that they had not waived their right to raise a double jeopardy defense. Conscious waiver is not necessary with respect to each potential defense relinquished by a guilty plea. Pp. 488 U. S. 571-574.
(c) Under the well-settled principle that a voluntary and intelligent guilty plea by an accused who has been advised by competent counsel may not be collaterally attacked, respondents, who have not called into question the voluntary and intelligent character of their pleas, were not entitled to the collateral relief they sought. P. 488 U. S. 574.
(d) The exception to the rule barring collateral attack on a guilty plea established by Blackledge v. Perry, 417 U. S. 21, and Menna v. New York, 423 U. S. 61, in cases where a conviction under a second indictment must be set aside because the defendant's right not to be haled into court was violated, has no application in this case. Here, in contrast to those cases which were resolved without any need to go beyond the indictments and the original record, respondents could not prove their double jeopardy claim without introducing new evidence into the record. Pp. 488 U. S. 574-576.
KENNEDY, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which REHNQUIST, C.J., and WHITE, STEVENS, O'CONNOR, and SCALIA, JJ., joined. STEVENS, J., filed a concurring opinion, post, p. 488 U. S. 580. BLACKMUN, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BRENNAN and MARSHALL, JJ., joined, post, p. 488 U. S. 581.
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