Killebrew Plea Law and Legal Definition

The term Killebrew plea is derived from the case People v Killebrew, 416 Mich 189 (1992). A "Killebrew plea" allows a defendant to enter a conditional guilty plea. The plea can be withdrawn if the judge's ultimate sentence falls outside sentencing terms negotiated by the prosecutor and defense.

Generally, judges are not bound by a sentencing agreement between the parties. But where Killebrew agreements are entered, the judge is advised before the plea of the sentencing terms approved by both sides, and the defendant is allowed to enter this conditional plea. The judge is not a party to killebrew plea agreements, and s/he may later impose any lawful sentence. Under the killebrew plea, a defendant pleads guilty expecting a particular sentence. The defendant can withdraw his/her plea if s/he does not receive the expected sentence.