Plea Deals Involving State Officials

Gerard Magliocca

Gerard N. Magliocca is the Samuel R. Rosen Professor at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Professor Magliocca is the author of three books and over twenty articles on constitutional law and intellectual property. He received his undergraduate degree from Stanford, his law degree from Yale, and joined the faculty after two years as an attorney at Covington and Burling and one year as a law clerk for Judge Guido Calabresi on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Professor Magliocca has received the Best New Professor Award and the Black Cane (Most Outstanding Professor) from the student body, and in 2008 held the Fulbright-Dow Distinguished Research Chair of the Roosevelt Study Center in Middelburg, The Netherlands. He was elected to the American Law Institute (ALI) in 2013.

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3 Responses

  1. PrometheeFeu says:

    “Any coercion, whether through spending or other means, that retains a choice is constitutional.”

    I’m not sure that is really true. Let’s say Congress passed a law to the effect that owning a car while being the governor of a state is punished by 10 years in prison, unless either
    1) The state’s legislature has never attempted to lower the drinking age to 18 during the governor’s tenure or
    2) The governor vetoed all such bills.

    Would that be unconstitutional coercion? I want to say yes.

    The flip side is of course that states have an easy remedy. They could simply say that the governor may not make any contract binding his use of his powers as governor. So that way, the governor simply cannot accept the plea deal.

  2. nidefatt says:

    I think the judge would feel complicit in that agreement. Would the court’s participation affect the constitutional question? Isn’t the federal judge using federal power to enforce the agreement?

  3. SM says:

    Isn’t the answer that the decision to resign as Governor is a choice personal to the holder of the office? In other words, the prosecutor in Scenario #1 isn’t interfering with the State qua State, even though the State will obviously be effected. In Scenario #2 the prosecutor is actually interfering with the Governor’s exercise of his official powers.