Taylor v. County of Pima

Fire breaks out at Tucson, Ariz. hotel in 1972, killing 29 people. A 16-year-old who was nearby is convicted “on the basis of little more than that proximity and trial evidence that ‘black boys’ like to set fires.” Much later, evidence emerges suggesting that the fire was not caused by arson. (Prosecutors also allegedly withheld evidence of the same.) After 42 years of imprisonment, prosecutors offer him immediate release if he pleads guilty to the original charges. He accepts. Can he sue about the original prosecution? Ninth Circuit: No, he just pleaded guilty. Dissent: “Far from being the product of a new, constitutionally conducted second trial, [the man’s] second conviction was the product of his desperate circumstances. In his 60’s, he faced acceptance of the plea offer or waiting years for a habeas petition to work its way through the courts.”

Tags: 2019, Due Process, Ninth Circuit, Plea Deals

Sign up to receive IJ's biweekly digital magazine, Liberty & Law along with breaking updates about our fight to protect the rights of all Americans.