CHAPTER SIX - SENTENCING PROCEDURES, PLEA AGREEMENTS, AND CRIME VICTIMS' RIGHTS


PART B - PLEA AGREEMENTS


Introductory Commentary

Policy statements governing the acceptance of plea agreements under Rule 11(c), Fed. R. Crim. P., are intended to ensure that plea negotiation practices:  (1) promote the statutory purposes of sentencing prescribed in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a); and (2) do not perpetuate unwarranted sentencing disparity.

 These policy statements make clear that sentencing is a judicial function and that the appropriate sentence in a guilty plea case is to be determined by the judge.  The policy statements also ensure that the basis for any judicial decision to depart from the guidelines will be explained on the record.

Historical Note:  Effective November 1, 1987.  Amended effective November 1, 2004 (see Appendix C, amendment 674).


§6B1.1.     Plea Agreement Procedure (Policy Statement)

(a)       The parties must disclose the plea agreement in open court when the plea is offered, unless the court for good cause allows the parties to disclose the plea agreement in camera.  Rule 11(c)(2), Fed. R. Crim. P.

(b)      To the extent the plea agreement is of the type specified in Rule 11(c)(1)(B), the court must advise the defendant that the defendant has no right to withdraw the plea if the court does not follow the recommendation or request.  Rule 11(c)(3)(B), Fed. R. Crim. P.

(c)       To the extent the plea agreement is of the type specified in Rule 11(c)(1)(A) or (C), the court may accept the agreement, reject it, or defer a decision until the court has reviewed the presentence report.  Rule 11(c)(3)(A), Fed. R. Crim. P.


Commentary

This provision parallels the procedural requirements of Rule 11(c), Fed. R. Crim. P.  Plea agreements must be fully disclosed and a defendant whose plea agreement includes a nonbinding recommendation must be advised that the court's refusal to accept the sentencing recommendation will not entitle the defendant to withdraw the plea.

Section 6B1.1(c) deals with the timing of the court's decision regarding whether to accept or reject the plea agreement.  Rule 11(c)(3)(A) gives the court discretion to accept or reject the plea agreement immediately or defer a decision pending consideration of the presentence report.  Given that a presentence report normally will be prepared, the Commission recommends that the court defer acceptance of the plea agreement until the court has reviewed the presentence report.

Historical Note:  Effective November 1, 1987.  Amended effective November 1, 2004 (see Appendix C, amendment 674).