Insider’s Guide: Attacking the Guilty Plea

Attacking the guilty plea is one of the most confusing proceedings in a criminal case. That’s because the way you go about attacking a guilty plea depends on what stage of the criminal proceedings you’re in. Over 95% of the hundreds of thousands of criminal convictions each year are by way of a guilty plea. Many challenges are made and many challenges are lost, usually because the challenge was done the wrong way. In Attacking the Guilty Plea: An Insider’s Guide, criminal law author Dale Chappell and noted federal attorney Brandon Sample dive into the standards for challenging a guilty plea at every stage of a criminal case. It’s a detailed look at every aspect of challenging a guilty plea, with court cases explaining what works and — importantly — what doesn’t.

By Dale Chappell

Attacking a guilty plea is one of the most confusing proceedings there is in a criminal case. That’s because the way you go about attacking a guilty plea depends on what stage of the criminal proceeding you’re in. For example, the standard for attacking the guilty plea before sentencing is very different from the standard after sentencing. And that’s only the beginning. Often, the challenge comes down to whether the guilty plea was a “knowing and voluntary” decision, a standard that even seasoned judges can’t agree on.

Knowing this, however, is critical when attacking a guilty plea. Over 95% of the hundreds of thousands of criminal convictions each year are by way of a guilty plea. Many challenges are made and many of them are denied, usually because the challenge was done the wrong way. In Insider’s Guide: Attacking the Guilty Plea, Dale Chappell explains the standards for challenging a guilty plea at every stage of a criminal proceeding. With more than 15 years of experience challenging guilty pleas, Chappell is considered an expert on the subject.

Some of the topics include false promises and coercion to plead guilty, the knowing and voluntary standard, challenging the guilty plea through an appeal, and the different types of ineffective assistance of counsel (IAC) recognized by the Supreme Court for guilty plea challenges. Insider’s Guide: Attacking the Guilty Plea is an exhaustive look at every aspect of challenging a guilty plea, with court cases explaining what works and — importantly — what doesn’t.

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