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Hill v. Lockhart

United States Supreme Court
474 U.S. 52 (1985)


William Lloyd Hill (defendant) was charged with first-degree murder and theft, which carries a sentence of five to 50 years or life imprisonment under Arkansas law. Hill’s attorney secured a plea deal in which Hill would plead guilty in exchange for the prosecutor’s recommendation of concurrent sentences of 35 years for murder and 10 years for theft. Hill signed an agreement that the guilty plea was knowing and voluntary, that there was no coercion, and that Hill understood his rights and wanted to plead guilty. At the hearing, Hill again stated that the plea was voluntary. The judge and Hill’s attorney told Hill that he would not be eligible for parole until serving 1/3 of the sentence. Because Hill was a second offender, Hill would not actually be eligible for parole until serving ½ of the sentence. On the basis of the attorney’s mistake as to parole eligibility, Hill filed a habeas corpus petition in federal court claiming that his plea was involuntary due to ineffective assistance of counsel. The district court denied the petition. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

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