Voluntariness of Guilty Plea


The following is an excerpt from an Application for Leave to Appeal.  The issue raised was whether a guilty plea was made knowingly and voluntarily.   It was drafted by Paul J. Notarianni  in 2013.

Applicant raises a single allegation of error on the part of the Circuit Court.  Applicant alleges that the Circuit Court committed reversible error by accepting the Applicant’s plea.

A plea of guilty must be made knowingly and voluntarily.  The United States Supreme Court has held that an affirmative showing of voluntariness on the record is necessary in order to conclude that a defendant has waived his constitutional rights.  (Boykin v. Alabama, 395 U.S. 238, 242 (1969)).  A Maryland trial court may not accept a plea of guilty without first questioning the defendant on the record to determine that the plea is made voluntarily, with understanding of the charge and the consequences of the plea.  (MD Rule 731 (c) and State v. Priett, 289 Md. 267 (1982)).  A trial court must see to it that “the guilty plea is made . . . freely and voluntarily, and with a full understanding of its nature and effect . . .” (Davis v. State, 278 Md. 103, 116 (1976)).



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