Alford plea

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Originated in the US legal case before the Supreme Court of the United States, North Carolina v. Alford (1970).


Alford plea (plural Alford pleas)

  1. (US, law) A plea in criminal court in which the defendant does not admit guilt but concedes the government has sufficient evidence to convict.
    • 1992, Walter John Raymond, Dictionary of Politics: Selected American and Foreign Political and Legal Terms, Brunswick Publishing Corporation, →ISBN, page 9:
      Alford Plea. A plea under which a defendant may choose to plead guilty, not because of an admission to the crime, but because the prosecutor has sufficient evidence to place a charge and to obtain conviction in court. The plea is commonly used in local and state courts in the United States.
    • 1996, Kathleen Daly, Gender, Crime, and Punishment, Yale University Press, →ISBN, page 20:
      Under the Alford doctrine, a defendant does not admit guilt but admits that the state has sufficient evidence to find him or her guilty, should the case go to trial.
    • 2006, Susan Ellis Wild, Webster's New World Law Dictionary, Webster's New World, →ISBN, page 21:
      Alford plea. A guilty plea entered as part of a plea bargain by a criminal defendant who denies committing the crime or who does not actually admit his guilt. In federal courts, such plea may be accepted as long as there is evidence that the defendant is actually guilty. Named after North Carolina v. Alford (1970.)
    • 2009 November, Michael T. Judge; Stephen R. McCullough, “Criminal law and procedure”, in University of Richmond Law Review, page 339, Vol. 44:
      When offering an Alford plea, a defendant asserts his innocence but admits that sufficient evidence exists to convict him of the offense.