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Mabry v. Johnson

United States Supreme Court
 467 U.S. 504 (1984)


Facts

While Johnson (defendant) was serving concurrent sentences for burglary and assault convictions, a prosecutor began plea negotiations for another charge Johnson faced. The prosecutor offered Johnson a 21 year concurrent sentence if he pled guilty to the charge of accessory after a felony murder. Johnson told his lawyer he would accept the offer. However, the prosecutor later stated that he had made a mistake and withdrew the offer.  He then made a second offer of a 21 year consecutive sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. Johnson rejected the second offer and the case went to trial. After a mistrial was declared, Johnson accepted the prosecutor’s second offer and was given the 21 year consecutive sentence. Johnson petitioned for habeas corpus but the district court denied his petition. The appellate court reversed the district court and held that the prosecutor was not allowed to withdraw the offer proposed during plea bargaining once Johnson had accepted the offer because “fairness” prohibited it. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Stevens, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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