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Newman v. United States

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Brief Fact Summary. After appellant, Newman, was not extended the same plea offer that his co-defendant was, he brought appeal claiming he had been denied due process, equal standing and equal protection.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. It is not in the province of the Court to tell the attorney general how to bring about its charges of different defendants.

Points of Law - Legal Principles in this Case for Law Students.

On the contrary, he is expected to exercise discretion and common sense to the end that if, for example, one is a young first offender and the other older, with a criminal record, or one played a lesser and the other a dominant role, one the instigator and the other the follower, the prosecutor can and should take such factors into account; no court has any jurisdiction to inquire into or review his decision.

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Facts. Appellant, Newman, and Anderson were indicted for housebreaking (breaking and entering) and petty larceny. Anderson’s counsel was able to get him a plea agreement, which included only the misdemeanor charges of petty larceny and attempted housebreaking. The US attorney declined to give the same offer to Newman, who brought appeal.

Issue. Whether a defendant can appeal an indictment when he is not given an equal plea as his co-defendant.

Held. Affirmed. The court declined to decide on this matter, except to state that the Attorney General’s office is an extension of the Executive Branch, and it was not in the province of the court to tell them who to indict and which charges to press.

Discussion. This case serves to show that courts will not take up every plea agreement in an attempt to make things fair among defendants.

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