Spring 2007 appellate brief assignment u.s. v. belfast (public defender's office)

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  • 1. MemorandumTo: Associates in LARW II Section A/B (Last names beginning with A-J)From: Professor GoeringDate: February 13, 2007Re: Appellate Brief Assignment: United States of America v. Roy M. Belfast, Jr.______________________________________________________________________________ We have been retained by the Federal Public Defender’s Office to assist with an appellatebrief to be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Our client is RoyBelfast, Jr., a/k/a Charles Taylor, Jr. He recently pleaded guilty in Miami to making a falsestatement on a passport application. On December 6, 2006, the day before he was to besentenced for the passport violation, he was arrested for engaging in torture, conspiring to engagein torture, and carrying a firearm in connection with a crime of violence. All of these offensesallegedly occurred in the west African country of Liberia in July 2002. The Federal Public Defender’s Office has assigned the case to Miguel Caridad, AssistantFederal Public Defender. He needs our help preparing for the appeal. Mr. Caridad filed aMotion to Dismiss the Indictment for Factual Insufficiency. He essentially argued that theindictment charging our client with torture and conspiracy was not specific enough. Thedefendant is charged with specific, graphic acts of torture against a single individual, but theindictment does not identify the victim by name. Furthermore, the indictment does not name theco-conspirators. The government opposed the Motion to Dismiss, and the United States DistrictCourt for the Southern District of Florida held oral arguments on the motion last week. Yesterday, February 12, 2007, Magistrate Judge Turnoff issued his ruling on the motion.The Report and Recommendation is in the file. Basically, the magistrate judge granted ourclient’s motion to dismiss the torture charge, but refused to dismiss the conspiracy charge. Thedistrict court’s approval of the magistrate’s report and recommendation is expected within tendays. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has made it very clear to Mr. Caridad that the governmentintends to seek permission to take an immediate appeal from the dismissal of the underlyingcharge of torture. If the government is successful in filing an interlocutory appeal, Caridadwants to file a cross-appeal challenging the magistrate’s decision not to dismiss the conspiracycount. I need your help in drafting the appellate brief. The attached file contains all the documents in the record that we currently haveavailable. Note that a couple of transcripts are missing. One is the transcript of the pretrialdetention hearing, which was taped on December 15. The other is the transcript of the February5 hearing on Caridad’s motion to dismiss. I have contacted the court reporters to order copies of
  • 2. those transcripts, but it may take awhile to get them for you. In the meantime, you can reviewthe documents in the record and begin preparing the appellate brief. I have attached a copy of the transcript of the press conference held on December 6,2006, at which the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced the indictment against our client forparticipating in the alleged torture of a victim in Monrovia, Liberia. Keep in mind that the pressconference transcript is not evidence and is not part of the trial record. However, it gives yousome helpful background information on the case. Be sure to check the local rules of the Eleventh Circuit for filing appellate briefs. Also,remember that Fed. R. App. P. 28 and 32 govern the filing of briefs in the circuit courts ofappeal, so you must carefully comply with those general rules as well. Please draft the brief for our client. The narrative portion of your draft should be nolonger than 15 double-spaced pages, excluding the Cover Page, Table of Contents, Table ofAuthorities, and Certificate of Service. Your title page, margins, pagination, and other formatissues must be consistent with the local rules of the Eleventh Circuit and the Federal Rules ofAppellate Procedure. We would normally wait for the government to file its appellate brief firston the primary issue (the dismissal of Count Two – the torture count). However, in the interestof expediency, please go ahead and prepare our Appellee’s Brief on that issue. In the same brief,as a separate argument heading, you should go ahead and include our Cross-Appellant’s Briefchallenging the trial court’s refusal to dismiss Count One – the conspiracy count. I will need your draft brief no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 2, so we can reviewit together and make necessary revisions before the filing deadline in early April. For your draftbrief, you may omit the Table of Contents, Table of Authorities, Summary of Argument, andCertificate of Service. Of course, all of those sections are necessary in your final appellate brief,which should be ready for filing. Thank you for your assistance. PLEASE NOTE: You may discuss the assignment and your research with otherassociates in our firm only (LARW Section A/B), but do not show your written work or yourlegal analysis to anyone but me or my junior partner, Matt Stromberg. The Honor Code appliesto this assignment and all others in this course. If you have questions, please refer to theWashburn University School of Law Honor Code, or ask me for clarification. Feel free to askeither Mr. Stromberg or me if you have any questions about this assignment.