Brady (defendant) was charged with kidnapping in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1201(a) and faced the possibility of the death penalty if convicted by a jury. After learning that his co-defendant may testify against him, Brady changed his previous plea of not guilty to guilty. Brady’s plea was accepted by the trial judge after he questioned Brady twice as to the voluntariness of his plea. Brady was sentenced to 50 years imprisonment, later reduced to 30 years, and thereafter sought post-conviction relief claiming that his plea was not voluntary because he faced the death penalty if he exercised his right to a jury trial. The lower courts denied Brady’s requested relief, and the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to review.