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Name: U.S. v. Ruiz
Case #: 00-50048
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 03/05/2001
Subsequent History: None

A “fast track” plea bargain program in which the Government promised to recommend a two-level downward departure from the sentencing guidelines in return for a plea and waiver of various rights, including the right to receive undisclosed favorable evidence from the prosecution under Brady v. Maryland (1963) 373 U.S. 83, was unconstitutional as a violation of due process. Brady rights are not waivable; without a disclosure of the Brady material itself, the plea agreement and the Brady waiver cannot be voluntary and intelligent. The Court also rejected the argument that the waiver was valid because it applied only to impeachment evidence, and not material relating to factual innocence. Finally, the Court concluded that the record adequately established that the Government had acted with an unconstitutional motive in refusing to recommend the “fast track” departure.