400 U.S. 25 (1970)
Alford was charged for first-degree murder on December 2, 1963, which is a capital offense in North Carolina. The court appointed an attorney to represent him, the court had strong evidence to show that Alford is guilty and he had no type of evidence or witness that showed he is innocent. Alford's attorney recommended that he plead guilty, and let him choose if he wanted to plead guilty or not. Alford agreed to accept a plea of guilty to a charge of second-degree murder. Alford pleaded guilty and his charge been reduced.
Before the plea was accepted by the trial court, the court heard the testimony of a police officer and two other witnesses was heard. Their testimony showed that before Alford committed the murder he took his gun from his house, stated that he wanted to kill the victim, and went back home stating that he carried out the killing. After the testimonies, Alford took the stand and testified that he had not committed the murder, and that he was pleading guilty because he dint want to face the death penalty if found guilty. Alford stated that his attorney informed on what’s the difference between first degree murder and second degree murder and because of this he chose to plead guilty to a lesser charge. The trial court sentenced Alford, to 30 years of imprisonment which is the maximum penalty for second degree murder.
Alford wanted the conviction reversed because he stated that he pleaded guilty only because of fear and coercion.
United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina and Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, denied the writ of habeas corpus.
In 1967, Alford again petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus in the District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. The court once again denied.
Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, appealed and reversed decision.
14th Amendment- All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
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