Publication Date



Rule 11(b)(3) of the Federal Rules of CriminalProcedure
requires courts to determine that criminal defendants'
guilty pleas have a factual basis. Once a district court
accepts a guilty plea, appellate courts diverge in their
willingness to review challenges to the sufficiency of the
plea's factual basis. Some federal circuits hold that a
factual basis challenge is waived by the guilty plea. Other
jurisdictions will review a defendant's factual basis
challenge on appeal. Despite the lack of clarity on this
point, the Supreme Court has not yet provided guidance
and the federal circuit courts have not offered a great deal
of reasoning behind their treatment of the factual basis
This Note argues that a challenge to the factual basis for
a guilty plea should be waived by the plea. This position
comports with the substantialpolicy interest in the efficacy
and finality of guilty pleas. Other forms of relief available
to defendants who plead guilty make factual basis
challenges otiose in this context. This Note then addresses
the practical problems attendant to an appellate review of
a guilty plea's factual basis. Finally, it draws a
meaningful distinction between compliance with the
procedural requirements of Rule 11 and the findings of
fact made by a district court during the guilty plea