Boykin V. Alabama

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Boykin v. Alabama

Boykin v. Alabama


The name of the case is Boykin v. Alabama, 395 U.S. 238, 89 S.Ct. 1709, 23 L. Ed. 2d. 274 (1969)

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Brief Fact Summary

The defendant of the case was given a death sentence after he was pleaded guilty to a number of robberies. A twenty seven year old African American man named Edward Boykin was given a death sentence after he was found guilty of five armed robberies which were during that time punishable through execution. This judgment was given by a judge in Alabama in 1966. After the sentence was given, the attorneys of Boykin argued in an appeal to the supreme court of Alabama that a death sentence is a cruel and unusual punishment for armed robbery. The appeal was rejected by the court. However, doubts were expressed by the court on the part of the judge. They wondered whether the judge has made the right decision when he accepted the guilty plea of the defendant without interrogating him.

Boykin later made appeal to the supreme court of the United States. In 1969, the court ruled a majority of seven to two that an error was made by the judge in permitting the guilty plea without interrogating Boykin. The court stated that the evaluating standards of deciding if the defendant voluntarily or knowingly entered the guilty plea should equal the standards for finding the mental competence of the defendant for standing in trial. Justice William Douglas, speaking for the majority, pronounced that for meeting such standards as abided by the court, the record of the trial must plainly portray that the constitutional rights of the defendant were personally surrendered by him. The decision ...