In United States u. Ruiz, the Ninth Circuit ruled that such waivers are unconstitutional, violating the principle that defendants in criminal cases must knowingly and voluntarily plead guilty for the plea to be constitutionally valid. The purpose of this article is to discuss the law leading up to the Ninth Circuit's ruling in Ruiz, to examine the court's ruling itself, and to analyze the impact this decision could have on plea bargaining, an integral part of the criminal justice system. In Part II, this Note discusses Ruiz's facts and procedural history. Part III, section A outlines the prosecution's duty to disclose exculpatory and impeachment evidence as set forth by the United States Supreme Court's rulings in Brady v. Maryland and its progeny. Part III, section B discusses the nature of guilty pleas, focusing on the several types of waivers that flow from such pleas. Part IV critiques the Ninth Circuit's ruling in Ruiz. Finally, Part V concludes that the Ninth Circuit properly held that plea agreements containing Brady waivers cannot constitutionally be entered into and that they obstruct the truth-seeking function of our system of criminal justice.
United States v. Ruiz: Are Plea Agreements Conditioned on Brady Waivers Unconstitutional?, 32 Golden Gate U. L. Rev.