Guilty plea doesn’t bar challenge to constitutionality of statute: USSC

The Supreme Court of United States recently held that a guilty plea, by itself, does not bar a federal criminal defendant from challenging the constitutionality of his statute of conviction on direct appeal.

In this case, Defendant pleaded guilty to violating a federal law that bars firearms on the grounds of the United States Capitol but then challenged the constitutionality of the law on appeal citing violation of Second Amendment and due process clause.

“Class [Defendant] neither expressly nor implicitly waived his constitutional claims by pleading guilty. As this Court understands them, the claims at issue here do not contradict the terms of the in­dictment or the written plea agreement and they can be resolved “on the basis of the existing record,” the Court said adding further that “Class [Defendant] chal­lenges the Government’s power to criminalize his (admitted) conduct and thereby calls into question the Government’s power to “constitu­tionally prosecute” him.”

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