University of Miami Law Review


The Constitution bestows upon all accused persons the right to a trial by jury, the right to confront accusers, the right to remain silent, and the right to be presumed innocent. The law requires waiver of these rights to be done voluntarily, with the fullest possible knowledge of material consequences. Punishment is possibly the most material consequence of a guilty plea, yet criminal defendants who pleaded guilty are forced to relinquish their rights before punishment is determined. Our jurisprudence of due process prohibits this kind of practice, but it is routine in Federal court. For a guilty plea to comport with Constitutional principles, before relinquishing his rights, the accused must know what kind of information the sentencing court will consider when determining his punishment.