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FIFTH CIRCUIT STANDARDS OF REVIEW                                 by Timothy Crooks                                (Update...
United States v. Neal, 27 F.3d 1035, 1048 (5th Cir. 1994), citing In re Auclair, 961            F.2d 65, 69 (5th Cir. 1992...
BILL OF PARTICULARS:     Denial of bill of particulars: clear abuse of discretion            United States v. McKinney, 53...
States v. Jimenez, 509 F.3d 686, 691 (5th Cir. 2007).      ALSO:      “Bruton issues, failures to remove references to co-...
“The application of collateral estoppel is a question of law that we review de novo.”            United States v. Brackett...
CONFLICT OF INTEREST:     Disqualification of defense counsel for conflict of interest: abuse of discretion            Uni...
CONSTITUTIONAL STANDARDS -- See also CONSTITUTIONALITY     Constitutional claims: de novo            United States v. Webs...
ALSO:            “We review the constitutionality of a federal statute and the district court’s            interpretation ...
Credit, 95 F.3d 362, 364 (5th Cir. 1996)CROSS-EXAMINATION -- See also CONFRONTATION     Rulings limiting the scope or exte...
Bullock, 551 F.2d 1377, 1384 (5th Cir. 1977)      Discovery rulings: abuse of discretion             United States v. Webs...
Shute v. State of Texas, 117 F.3d 233, 238 (5th Cir. 1997) (citations omitted)            Review of double jeopardy challe...
applies to sufficiency of the evidence.’”                       United States v. Thompson, 130 F.3d 676, 688 (5th Cir. 199...
United States v. Robinson, 700 F.2d 205, 212-14 (5th Cir. 1983)       BUT SEE United States v. Fox, 69 F.3d 15, 20 (5th Ci...
SEE ALSO United States v. Green, 180 F.3d 216, 222 (5th Cir. 1999) (“Ruling that       a statement was made in furtherance...
Admission of transcript of tape recording: abuse of discretion             United States v. Thompson, 130 F.3d 676, 683 (5...
EXPERTS: See EVIDENCEEYEWITNESS IDENTIFICATIONS -- See also IDENTIFICATION        Decision whether to admit expert testimo...
Probable cause:            Findings of fact: clearly erroneous            Whether facts are legally sufficient to constitu...
United States v. Reyna, 130 F.3d 104, 111 (5th Cir. 1997) (citing Amaya and              Howard, infra); United States v. ...
AEDPA:       Applicability of AEDPA: de novo               Graham v. Johnson, 168 F.3d 762, 772 (5th Cir. 1999), citing Ki...
United States v. Guerra, 94 F.3d 989, 993 (5th Cir. 1996) (citation omitted)       (allowance of leave for government to a...
McDonald v. Johnson, 139 F.3d 1056, 1059 (5th Cir. 1998), citing Hamilton v.       Lyons, 74 F.3d 99, 102 (5th Cir. 1996)D...
United States v. Samuels, 59 F.3d 526, 530 & n.17 (5th Cir. 1995), citing United       States v. Bartholomew, 974 F.2d 39,...
Issues of law:       (§ 2241/habeas corpus): de novo       Leggett v. Fleming, 380 F.3d 232, 234 (5th Cir. 2004); Venegas ...
District court’s determination respecting procedural bar: de novo       Johnson v. Cain, 215 F.3d 489, 494 (5th Cir. 2000)...
Successive petitions:            Dismissal of second or subsequent petition (§ 2254): abuse of discretion                 ...
of discretion            Legal determinations underlying the district court’s decision: de novo                    United ...
"maximum liberality"           United States v. Cabrera-Teran, 168 F.3d 141, 143 (5th Cir. 1999), citing United           ...
INSANITY/ INCOMPETENCY:    Competency: mixed question of law and fact           Whether a petitioner suffers from a mental...
JENCKS ACT:     “We review a district court’s decisions regarding discovery under the Jencks Act for clear     error.”    ...
entertain [defendant’s] third posttrial motion for judgment of acquittal.”               United States v. Mulderig, 120 F....
United States v. Krout, 66 F.3d 1420, 1426 (5th Cir. 1995)Decisions regarding jury bias: abuse of discretion       United ...
Limited hearing held/scope of hearing limited: reviewed for abuse of               (broad) discretion (Chiantese standard)...
Decision whether or not to hold evidentiary hearing: abuse of discretion           Denial of new trial based upon juror mi...
“[W]e review de novo whether the jury instruction misstated an element of the       statutory crime.”              United ...
Whether elements of lesser included offense are a subset of the greater offense: de             novo             Whether j...
Certification of juveniles for federal prosecution under 18 U.S.C. § 5032: de novo              United States v. Male Juve...
this court reviews de novo.”            United States v. Lee, 358 F.3d 315, 320 (5th Cir. 2004) (citations omitted).LIMITA...
United States v. Heacock, 31 F.3d 249, 256 (5th Cir. 1994), citing United States v.            Bentley-Smith, 2 F.3d 1368,...
United States v. Scroggins, 379 F.3d 233, 239 (5th Cir. 2004)    Denial of motion for new trial based on newly discovered ...
United States v. Asibor, 109 F.3d 1023, 1039 (5th Cir. 1997), citing United States v.           Graves, 556 F.2d 1319, 132...
Failure to object in the trial court results in review solely for plain error. Fed. R. Crim. P. 52(b);United States v. Cal...
Rejection of a plea agreement: abuse of discretion            United States v. Crowell, 60 F.3d 199, 205 (5th Cir. 1995) (...
Revocation of probation: abuse of discretion           United States v. King, 990 F.2d 190, 193 (5th Cir. 1993); United St...
United States v. Johnson, 68 F.3d 899, 902 & n.1 (5th Cir. 1995), citing United             States v. Graves, 556 F.2d 131...
152, 156 & 158 (5th Cir. 1995)REDUCTION OF SENTENCE:    Motion to reduce sentence (pre-Guidelines version of Rule 35): gro...
United States v. Hassan, 83 F.3d 693, 696 (5th Cir.1996); United States v. Hobbs,            31 F.3d 918, 923 (9th Cir. 19...
v. Hughey, 147 F.3d 423, 436 (5th Cir. 1998)      Whether a person or entity is a “victim” under the VWPA: de novo        ...
SANCTIONS:     Whether an attorney’s conduct is subject to sanction: de novo     A district court’s imposition of a partic...
United States v. McSween, 53 F.3d 684, 687 n.4 (5th Cir. 1995), citing              United States v. Rich, 992 F.2d 502, 5...
v. United States, 522 U.S. 52 (1997)Independent source doctrine: two part analysis       (1) Does the warrant affidavit, w...
5th Cir standardsof review 32008
5th Cir standardsof review 32008
5th Cir standardsof review 32008
5th Cir standardsof review 32008
5th Cir standardsof review 32008
5th Cir standardsof review 32008
5th Cir standardsof review 32008
5th Cir standardsof review 32008
5th Cir standardsof review 32008
5th Cir standardsof review 32008
5th Cir standardsof review 32008
5th Cir standardsof review 32008
5th Cir standardsof review 32008
5th Cir standardsof review 32008
5th Cir standardsof review 32008
5th Cir standardsof review 32008
5th Cir standardsof review 32008
5th Cir standardsof review 32008
5th Cir standardsof review 32008
5th Cir standardsof review 32008
5th Cir standardsof review 32008
5th Cir standardsof review 32008
5th Cir standardsof review 32008
5th Cir standardsof review 32008
5th Cir standardsof review 32008
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  1. 1. FIFTH CIRCUIT STANDARDS OF REVIEW by Timothy Crooks (Updated Mar. 2008)CAUTION: This document no longer contains citations to denials of certiorari for the cited cases.ABUSE OF DISCRETION: “A district court abuses its discretion if it bases its decision on anerror of law or a clearly erroneous assessment of the evidence.” United States v. Mann, 161 F.3d 840, 860 (5th Cir. 1998) (citing Esmark Apparel Co. v. James, 10 F.3d 1156, 1163 (5th Cir. 1994)); accord United States v. Insaulgarat, 378 F.3d 456, 464 (5th Cir. 2004) (citing Mann)ABUSE OF THE WRIT -- See same subheading under HABEAS CORPUSALLEN CHARGE -- See same subheading under JURY INSTRUCTIONSALLOCUTION – See same subheading under SENTENCINGAPPEAL: District courts finding that there was/was not “excusable neglect” for the late filing of a notice of appeal: abuse of discretion United States v. Clark, 193 F.3d 845, 846 (5th Cir. 1999) (citations omitted); United States v. Clark, 51 F.3d 42, 43 n.5 (5th Cir. 1995) (citations omitted)ARMED CAREER CRIMINAL ACT (18 U.S.C. § 924(e)): Whether prior is a qualifying prior under Act: de novo United States v. Williams, 120 F.3d 575, 578 (5th Cir. 1997), citing United States v. Martinez-Cortez, 988 F.2d 1408, 1410 (5th Cir. 1993)ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE: Factual findings: clearly erroneous Application of controlling law to facts: de novo 1
  2. 2. United States v. Neal, 27 F.3d 1035, 1048 (5th Cir. 1994), citing In re Auclair, 961 F.2d 65, 69 (5th Cir. 1992)ATTORNEY DISCIPLINE: “We review the district court’s imposition of particular discipline for an abuse of discretion, but consider whether an attorney’s conduct is subject to sanction de novo.” Sealed Appellant 1 v. Sealed Appellee 1, 211 F.3d 252, 254 (5th Cir. 2000), citing In re Sealed Appellant, 194 F.3d 666, 670 (5th Cir. 1999)AUDIO RECORDINGS -- See same subheading under EVIDENCEBATSON [v. KENTUCKY] CHALLENGES: Credibility: “Determining whether counsel speaks the truth in offering its reasons [for a jury strike] turns on in-person credibility assessments, so we review for clear error.” United States v. Webster, 162 F.3d 308, 349 (5th Cir. 1998) (citations omitted) Ruling on motivation for strike: clearly erroneous United States v. Stedman, 69 F.3d 737, 739 (5th Cir. 1995), citing United States v. Bentley-Smith, 2 F.3d 1368, 1372 (5th Cir. 1993) District courts findings concerning the presence of purposeful discrimination vel non in jury selection: clearly erroneous United States v. Pofahl, 990 F.2d 1456, 1466 (5th Cir. 1993) District court’s determination that prosecution gave a race-neutral explanation: clearly erroneous United States v. Fields, 72 F.3d 1200, 1206 & n.9 (5th Cir. 1996) (citations omitted)BENCH TRIAL: Sufficiency of the evidence: court must affirm the conviction if there is substantial evidence. United States v. Ybarra, 70 F.3d 362, 364 (5th Cir. 1995), citing United States v. Jennings, 726 F.2d 189, 190 (5th Cir. 1984); see also United States v. Davis, 993 F.2d 62, 66 (5th Cir. 1993) (quoted in Ybarra) 2
  3. 3. BILL OF PARTICULARS: Denial of bill of particulars: clear abuse of discretion United States v. McKinney, 53 F.3d 664, 674 (5th Cir.1995), citing United States v. Vasquez, 867 F.2d 872, 874 (5th Cir. 1989)BRADY [V. MARYLAND]: Brady determinations (whether Brady was violated by government nondisclosure of exculpatory evidence): de novo, using standard of United States v. Bagley, 473 U.S. 667 (1985) United States v. Green, 46 F.3d 461, 464 (5th Cir. 1995) See also United States v. Lowder, 148 F.3d 548, 550 (5th Cir. 1998) (“We review the district court’s Brady determination de novo.”), citing United States v. Dixon, 132 F.3d 192, 199 (5th Cir. 1997); accord United States v. Hughes, 230 F.3d 815, 819 (5th Cir. 2000) (citations omitted); United States v. Freeman, 164 F.3d 243, 248 (5th Cir. 1999) (citing Green) See also United States v. Martinez, 151 F.3d 384, 390 (5th Cir. 1998) (“Whether disclosures of impeachment information violate any constitutional or statutory right of the defendant is determined as a question of law. This court reviews questions of law de novo.”) (citations omitted) Factual findings: clearly erroneous United States v. Hughes, 230 F.3d 815, 819(5th Cir. 2000) (citation omitted) District court’s determination (from in camera review) that presentence reports of government witnesses do not contain Brady/Giglio material: clearly erroneous United States v. Gaytan, 74 F.3d 545, 557 (5th Cir. 1996) (citation omitted)BRUTON [V. UNITED STATES]: “We review Bruton issues for abuse of discretion.” United States v. Fletcher, 121 F.3d 187, 197 (5th Cir. 1997), citing United States v. Beaumont, 972 F.2d 91, 95 (5th Cir. 1992); see also United States v. Mann, 161 F.3d 840, 860 (5th Cir. 1998) (also citing Beaumont). Bruton error calls for reversal unless it was invited by the defendant or harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. United 3
  4. 4. States v. Jimenez, 509 F.3d 686, 691 (5th Cir. 2007). ALSO: “Bruton issues, failures to remove references to co-defendants, are reviewed for abuse of discretion.” United States v. Nutall, 180 F.3d 182, 188 (5th Cir. 1999) (citing Fletcher, supra)CLOSING ARGUMENT: Limitations on time allowed for closing argument: abuse of discretion United States v. Leal, 30 F.3d 577, 586 (5th Cir. 1994), citing United States v. Bernes, 602 F.2d 716, 722 (5th Cir. 1979)CLOSURE (of public trial): Whether a defendants constitutional right to a public trial was violated by partial closure of his trial: de novo United States v. Osborne, 68 F.3d 94, 98 (5th Cir. 1995)CO-CONSPIRATORS STATEMENTS: Admission of co-conspirators statement into evidence under Fed. R. Evid. 801(d)(2)(E): abuse of discretion United States v. Cornett, 195 F.3d 776, 782 (5th Cir. 1999), citing United States v. Narviz-Guerra, 148 F.3d 530, 536 (5th Cir. 1998) Determinations that statement was made by a co-conspirator and in furtherance of the conspiracy: clearly erroneous United States v. Krout, 66 F.3d 1420, 1426 (5th Cir. 1995) (citation omitted) SEE ALSO United States v. Green, 180 F.3d 216, 222 (5th Cir. 1999) (“Ruling that a statement was made in furtherance of a conspiracy is a factual finding, reversible only if clearly erroneous.”), citing United States v Stephens, 964 F.2d 424, 434 (5th Cir. 1992)COLLATERAL ESTOPPEL: 4
  5. 5. “The application of collateral estoppel is a question of law that we review de novo.” United States v. Brackett, 113 F.3d 1396, 1398 (5th Cir. 1997) (citations omitted); see also United States v. Yeager, ___ F.3d ____, 2008 WL 698930, *2 (5th Cir. Mar. 17, 2008)COMMERCE CLAUSE CHALLENGES – See CONSTITUTIONALITYCOMPETENCY -- See INSANITY/INCOMPETENCYCONFESSIONS: Generally: “A district court’s determination that a confession is voluntary is a question of law and is reviewed de novo, but the factual conclusions underlying the determination are reviewed for clear error.” United States v. Bell, 367 F.3d 452, 460-61 (5th Cir. 2004) (citing United States v. Garcia Abrego, 141 F.3d 142, 170 (5th Cir. 1998) Findings of fact relative to confession: clearly erroneous United States v. Restrepo, 994 F.2d 173, 183 (5th Cir. 1993); United States v. Doucette, 979 F.2d 1042, 1045 (5th Cir. 1992) Miranda violation: “The question of whether Miranda’s guarantees have been impermissibly denied to a criminal defendant is a matter of constitutional law, meriting de novo review. United States v. Fike, 82 F.3d 1315, 1324 (5th Cir. 1996), citing United States v. Harrell, 894 F.2d 120, 122-23 (5th Cir. 1990); see also United States v. Cardenas, 410 F.3d 287, 292 (5th Cir. 2005). Whether there has been a Miranda waiver: clearly erroneous United States v. Chapa-Garza, 62 F.3d 118, 121 (5th Cir. 1995) Ultimate issue of voluntariness of confession: de novo United States v. Restrepo, 994 F.2d 173, 183 (5th Cir. 1993); United States v. Doucette, 979 F.2d 1042, 1045 (5th Cir. 1992)CONFIDENTIAL INFORMANTS -- See INFORMANTS 5
  6. 6. CONFLICT OF INTEREST: Disqualification of defense counsel for conflict of interest: abuse of discretion United States v. Sotelo, 97 F.3d 782, 791 (5th Cir. 1996), citing United States v. Vasquez, 995 F.2d 40, 42 (5th Cir. 1993) Finding of a conflict of interest: abuse of discretion United States v. Bankston, 182 F.3d 296, 308 (5th Cir. 1999), citing United States v. Sotelo, 97 F.3d 782, 791 (5th Cir. 1996) Defendants waiver of conflict-free counsel: reviewed for simple error United States v. Moore, 37 F.3d 169, 174 (5th Cir. 1994), citing United States v. Snyder, 707 F.2d 139, 144 (5th Cir. 1983) Denial of defense counsel’s motion to withdraw based upon a conflict of interest: abuse of discretion United States v. Medina, 161 F.3d 867, 870 (5th Cir. 1998), citing United States v. Wild, 92 F.3d 304, 307 (5th Cir. 1996)CONFRONTATION -- See also CROSS-EXAMINATION Generally: The Sixth Amendment prohibits introduction of out of court testimonial statements unless the witness is unavailable and the defendant had an adequate opportunity for cross-examination. Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36, 53 (2004). The appellate court reviews alleged violations of the Confrontation Clause de novo . United States v. Bell, 367 F.3d 452, 465 (5th Cir. 2004) (citing United States v. McCormick, 141 F.3d 142, 170 (5th Cir. 1998)); see also Barnes v. Johnson, 184 F.3d 451, 454 (5th Cir. 1999) (“This court reviews de novo constitutional challenges concerning the right to confront adverse witnesses.”) (citing United States v. Grandlund,71 F.3d 507, 509 (5th Cir. 1995)). See also Gochicoa v. Johnson, 118 F.3d 440, 445 (5th Cir. 1997) (habeas) The government must establish that a confrontation clause error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. Under this standard, reversal is required if there was a “reasonable possibility that the improperly admitted evidence contributed to the conviction.” United States v. Harper, 514 F.3d 456, 461 (5th Cir. 2008), citing United States v. Ibarra, 493 F.3d 526, 532 (5th Cir. 2007).CONSENT -- See SEARCH AND SEIZURE 6
  7. 7. CONSTITUTIONAL STANDARDS -- See also CONSTITUTIONALITY Constitutional claims: de novo United States v. Webster, 162 F.3d 308, 333 (5th Cir. 1998), citing United States v. Estrada-Trochez, 66 F.3d 733, 735 (5th Cir. 1995) Incorrect application of constitutional standards: de novo United States v. Estrada-Trochez, 66 F.3d 733, 735 (5th Cir. 1995), citing United States v. Perez-Torrez, 15 F.3d 403, 406 (5th Cir. 1994); United States v. Shaw, 920 F.2d 1225, 1228 (5th Cir. 1991), citing American Civil Liberties Union v. State of Mississippi, 911 F.2d 1066, 1069 (5th Cir. 1990) Commerce Clause challenges: “When reviewing an act of Congress passed under the authority of the Commerce Clause, we review the statute under the rational basis standard. The burden for the challenger is high because federal commerce legislation continues to merit a high degree of judicial deference. In applying this deferential standard, due respect for the decisions of a coordinate branch of Government demands that we invalidate a congressional enactment only upon a plain showing that Congress has exceeded its constitutional bounds.” United States v. Bredimus, 352 F.3d 200, 203 (5th Cir. 2003) (internal quotation marks, brackets, and citations omitted; emphasis in original) Due process: “We review de novo an alleged due process violation . . . .” United States v. Williams, 343 F.3d 423, 439 (5th Cir. 2003) (citing United States v. Runyan, 290 F.3d 223, 245 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 537 U.S. 888 (2002))CONSTITUTIONALITY: de novo United States v. Robinson, 367 F.3d278, 290 (5th Cir. 2004) (“The constitutionality of a federal statute is a question of law reviewed de novo.”) (citing United States v. Ho, 311 F.3d 589, 601 (5th Cir. 2002)); United States v. Bredimus, 352 F.3d 200, 203 (5th Cir. 2003) (“This court reviews a constitutional challenge to a federal statute de novo.”) (citations omitted) 7
  8. 8. ALSO: “We review the constitutionality of a federal statute and the district court’s interpretation of a statute de novo.” United States v. Rasco, 123 F.3d 222, 226 (5th Cir. 1997)(citations omitted) Commerce Clause challenges: “When reviewing an act of Congress passed under the authority of the Commerce Clause, we review the statute under the rational basis standard. The burden for the challenger is high because federal commerce legislation continues to merit a high degree of judicial deference. In applying this deferential standard, due respect for the decisions of a coordinate branch of Government demands that we invalidate a congressional enactment only upon a plain showing that Congress has exceeded its constitutional bounds.” United States v. Bredimus, 352 F.3d 200, 203(5th Cir. 2003) (internal quotation marks, brackets, and citations omitted; emphasis in original) Due process: “We review de novo an alleged due process violation . . . .” United States v. Williams, 343 F.3d 423, 439 (5th Cir. 2003) (citing United States v. Runyan, 290 F.3d 223, 245 (5th Cir. 2002))CONTINUANCE: Denial of motion for continuance: abuse of discretion United States v. Correa-Ventura, 6 F.3d 1070, 1074 (5th Cir. 1993) Grant or denial of motion for continuance: abuse of discretion United States v. Alix, 86 F.3d 429, 434-35 (5th Cir. 1996), citing United States v. Alford, 999 F.2d 818, 821 (5th Cir. 1993)“CRIME OF VIOLENCE”: Whether a crime constitutes a “crime of violence” under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c): de novo United States v. Jennings, 195 F.3d 795, 797 (5th Cir. 1999), citing United States v. 8
  9. 9. Credit, 95 F.3d 362, 364 (5th Cir. 1996)CROSS-EXAMINATION -- See also CONFRONTATION Rulings limiting the scope or extent of cross-examination: Trial: abuse of discretion United States v. Alexius, 76 F.3d 642, 644 (5th Cir. 1996), citing United States v. Townsend, 31 F.3d 262, 268 (5th Cir. 1994); United States v. Coleman, 997 F.2d 1101, 1105 (5th Cir. 1993); United States v. Barksdale-Contreras, 972 F.2d 111 (5th Cir. 1992); see also Delaware v. Van Arsdall, 475 U.S. 673, 679 (1986). Suppression hearing: abuse of discretion United States v. Stewart, 93 F.3d 189, 193 (5th Cir. 1996) Decision to permit a certain line of cross-examination: abuse of discretion United States v. Smith-Bowman, 76 F.3d 634, 636 (5th Cir. 1996), citing United States v. Candelaria-Gonzalez, 547 F.2d 291, 294 (5th Cir. 1977)DEPORTATION – See REMOVAL, infraDEPOSITIONS: Denial of motion to take depositions under Fed. R. Crim. P. 15(a): abuse of discretion United States v. Aggarwal, 17 F.3d 737, 741-42 (5th Cir. 1994)DISCOVERY: Alleged errors in administration of discovery rules: abuse of discretion United States v. Neal, 27 F.3d 1035, 1049 (5th Cir. 1994, citing United States v. Gonzalez, 967 F.2d 1032, 1035 (5th Cir. 1992); see also United States v. Webster, 162 F.3d 308, 333 (5th Cir. 1998) (citing United States v. Mora, 994 F.2d 1129, 1138 (5th Cir. 1993)) & Webster, id. at 339 (citations omitted) Alleged discovery violations: abuse of discretion United States v. Dukes, 139 F.3d 469, 476 (5th Cir. 1998), citing United States v. 9
  10. 10. Bullock, 551 F.2d 1377, 1384 (5th Cir. 1977) Discovery rulings: abuse of discretion United States v. Webster, 162 F.3d 308, 336 (5th Cir. 1998) (citations omitted) Order for government production of discovery under Rule 16: abuse of discretion United States v. Mann, 61 F.3d 326, 331 (5th Cir. 1995), citing United States v. Sarcinelli, 667 F.2d 5 (5th Cir. 1982) District court’s grant or denial of disclosure of an informant’s identity: abuse of discretion United States v. Thomas, 348 F.3d 78, 85 (5th Cir. 2003) (citing United States v. Wilson, 77 F.3d 105, 111 (5th Cir. 1996)); United States v. Wilson, 77 F.3d 105, 111 (5th Cir. 1996) (citing United States v. Evans, 941 F.2d 267, 272 (5th Cir. 1991)) Remedies for discovery violations: abuse of discretion United States v. Katz, 178 F.3d 368, 372 (5th Cir. 1999), citing United States v. Bentley, 875 F.2d 1114, 1118 (5th Cir. 1989)DISQUALIFICATION of defense counsel: abuse of discretion United States v. Coleman, 997 F.2d 1101, 1104 (5th Cir. 1993); see also Wheat v. United States, 486 U.S. 153, 163-64 (1988); United States v. Reeves, 892 F.2d 1223, 1227 (5th Cir. 1990); but see United States v. Gonzalez-Lopez, 548 U.S. 140, 126 S.Ct. 2557, 2565 (2006)(no showing of prejudice required for improper denial of choice of counsel).DOUBLE JEOPARDY: Collateral estoppel -- See separate topic heading of same name Denial of motion to dismiss for double jeopardy: de novo United States v. Botello, 991 F.2d 189, 192 (5th Cir. 1993) Factual findings: clearly erroneous United States v. Fields, 72 F.3d 1200, 1209 & nn.26, 30 (5th Cir. 1996), citing United States v. Deshaw, 974 F.2d 667, 669 (5th Cir. 1992) In habeas case: de novo 10
  11. 11. Shute v. State of Texas, 117 F.3d 233, 238 (5th Cir. 1997) (citations omitted) Review of double jeopardy challenges to multiple prosecutions/imposition of multiple punishments: de novo United States v. Cruce, 21 F.3d 70, 74 (5th Cir. 1994), citing United States v. Deshaw, 974 F.2d 667, 669 (5th Cir. 1992)DUE PROCESS: Generally: “We review de novo an alleged due process violation . . . .” United States v. Williams, 343 F.3d 423, 439 (5th Cir. 2003) (citing United States v. Runyan, 290 F.3d 223, 245 (5th Cir. 2002)) Existence of substantial interference by government with a defense witness: clearly erroneous United States v. Thompson, 130 F.3d 676, 686-87 (5th Cir. 1997), citing United States v. Pinto, 850 F.2d 927, 932 (2nd Cir. 1988)DUPLICITY: de novo United States v. Sharpe, 193 F.3d 852, 866 (5th Cir. 1999), citing United States v. Trammell, 133 F.3d 1343, 1354 (10th Cir. 1998)ELECTRONIC SURVEILLANCE -- See WIRETAPSENTRAPMENT: Generally: “We review de novo a trial court’s refusal to instruct the jury on the defense of entrapment.” United States v. Gutierrez, 343 F.3d 415, 419 (5th Cir. 2003) (citing United States v. Ogle, 328 F.3d 182, 185 (5th Cir. 2003)) Whether evidence is insufficient to support a jury finding that a defendant was not entrapped: “‘When a jury, which was fully charged on entrapment, rejects the defendant’s entrapment defense, the applicable standard of review is the same as that which 11
  12. 12. applies to sufficiency of the evidence.’” United States v. Thompson, 130 F.3d 676, 688 (5th Cir. 1997), quoting United States v. Rodriguez, 43 F.3d 117, 126 (5th Cir. 1995) SEE ALSO United States v. Gutierrez, 343 F.3d 415, 419 (5th Cir. 2003) (“[W]hen a defendant’s properly requested entrapment instruction is undergirded by evidence sufficient to support a reasonable jury’s finding of entrapment, the district court errs reversibly by not adequately charging the jury on the theory of entrapment.”) (citing United States v. Ogle, 328 F.3d 182, 185 (5th Cir. 2003) (internal quotation marks and further citation omitted).EQUITABLE TOLLING -- See HABEAS CORPUS, infraEVIDENCE: Admissibility: abuse of discretion United States v. Coleman, 997 F.2d 1101, 1104 (5th Cir. 1993); see also United States v. Lindell, 881 F.2d 1313 (5th Cir. 1989); United States v. Anderson, 933 F.2d 1261, 1268 (5th Cir. 1991) Review is “heightened in a criminal case.” United States v. Gutierrez-Farias, 294 F.3d 657, 662 (5th Cir. 2004) FED. R. EVID. 403 determinations: abuse of discretion United States v. Willis, 6 F.3d 257, 260 (5th Cir. 1993), citing United States v. Robichaux, 995 F.2d 565, 568 (5th Cir. 1993) and United States v. Dula, 989 F.2d 772, 778 (5th Cir. 1993) FED. R. EVID. 404(b) determinations: District court must make Beechum1 findings; if it does, findings are reviewed for abuse of discretion. If the trial court "did not articulate its reasoning," court of appeals may conduct the Beechum analysis itself. If, however, the factors on which the Beechum analysis are made are not "readily apparent," remand is required due to the "uncertainty of the record." 1 See United States v. Beechum, 582 F.2d 898 (5th Cir. 1978) (en banc) (prior toadmission of 404(b) evidence, district court is required to determine that evidence is (1) relevantto crime charged and (2) not unfairly prejudicial). 12
  13. 13. United States v. Robinson, 700 F.2d 205, 212-14 (5th Cir. 1983) BUT SEE United States v. Fox, 69 F.3d 15, 20 (5th Cir. 1995) (admission of 404(b) evidence over objection reviewed under a heightened abuse of discretion standard) (citations omitted); accord United States v. Floyd, 343 F.3d 363, 367 (5th Cir. 2003) (noting that, “[i]n criminal cases, our review is ‘necessarily heightened’”) (quoting United States v. Gonzalez, 76 F.3d 1339, 1347 (5th Cir. 1996)); United States v. Buchanan, 70 F.3d 818, 831 (5th Cir. 1996) (citations omitted) BUT SEE United States v. Brown, 71 F.3d 1158, 1162 (5th Cir.1995) ("We review the district courts admission of evidence under Rule 404(b) under a careful application of the abuse of discretion standard."), quoting United States v. Anderson, 933 F.2d 1261, 1265 (5th Cir. 1991)Rulings on the admissibility of expert testimony:Abuse of discretion, United States v. Hitt, 473 F.3d 146, 157 (5th Cir. 2006);heightened in criminal cases, United States v. Gutierrez-Farias, 294 F.3d 657, 662(5th Cir. 2004). See generally Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509U.S. 579 (1993).Admission of audio recordings: abuse of discretion United States v. Buchanan, 70 F.3d 818, 827 (5th Cir. 1996), citing United States v. Eakes, 783 F.2d 499, 506-07 (5th Cir. 1986)Co-conspirators’ statements: Admission of co-conspirators statement into evidence under Fed. R. Evid. 801(d)(2)(E): abuse of discretion United States v. Robinson, 367 F.3d 278, 291 (5th Cir. 2004) (“We review the admission f hearsay evidence under the non-hearsay definition of Rule 801(d)(2)(E) for abuse of discretion.”) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted); United States v. Cornett, 195 F.3d 776, 782 (5th Cir. 1999) Determinations that statement was made by a co-conspirator and in furtherance of the conspiracy: clearly erroneous United States v. Krout, 66 F.3d 1420, 1426 (5th Cir. 1995) (citation omitted) 13
  14. 14. SEE ALSO United States v. Green, 180 F.3d 216, 222 (5th Cir. 1999) (“Ruling that a statement was made in furtherance of a conspiracy is a factual finding, reversible only if clearly erroneous.”), citing United States v Stephens, 964 F.2d 424, 434 (5th Cir. 1992)Decision whether to admit expert testimony on eyewitness reliability: abuse of discretion United States v. Jackson, 50 F.3d 1335, 1340 (5th Cir. 1995), citing United States v. Moore, 786 F.2d 1308, 1312 (5th Cir. 1986)Admission of photographs into evidence: abuse of discretion United States v. Weeks, 919 F.2d 248, 253 (5th Cir. 1990); United States v. Kaiser, 545 F.2d 467, 476 (5th Cir. 1977)Decision whether to allow or disallow polygraph evidence: abuse of discretion United States v. Pettigrew, 77 F.3d 1500, 1514-15 (5th Cir. 1996) (citations omitted)Scientific evidence (Rule 702): abuse of discretion United States v. Pettigrew, 77 F.3d 1500, 1514-15 (5th Cir. 1996) (citations omitted) BUT SEE Eiland v. Westinghouse Corp., 58 F.3d 176, 180 (5th Cir. 1995) (cited in Pettigrew) (admission or exclusion of expert opinion testimony not disturbed unless "manifestly erroneous")Sentencing: “We review the exclusion of sentencing evidence for abuse of discretion.” United States v. Mitchell, 366 F.3d 376, 379 (5th Cir. 2004) (citation omitted)Admission of tape recordings: abuse of discretion United States v. Thompson, 130 F.3d 676, 683 (5th Cir. 1997) (citations omitted) Determination of trustworthiness of tape recording: abuse of discretion United States v. Dukes, 139 F.3d 469, 473 (5th Cir. 1998), citing United States v. Stone, 960 F.2d 426, 436 (5th Cir. 1992) 14
  15. 15. Admission of transcript of tape recording: abuse of discretion United States v. Thompson, 130 F.3d 676, 683 (5th Cir. 1997), citing United States v. Wilson, 578 F.2d 67, 69 (5th Cir. 1978)EVIDENTIARY HEARING: Denial of evidentiary hearing (pretrial motions): abuse of discretion United States v. Gutierrez, 343 F.3d 415, 421 (5th Cir. 2003) (citing United States v. Linetsky, 533 F.2d 192, 203 (5th Cir. 1976)); see also United States v. Harrelson, 705 F.2d 733, 737 (5th Cir. 1983); United States v. Poe, 462 F.2d 195, 197 (5th Cir. 1972). However, an evidentiary hearing is required – and hence a district court perforce abuses its discretion in denying a hearing – where “‘the defendant alleges sufficient facts which, if proven, would justify relief.’” United States v. Mergist, 738 F.2d 645, 648 (5th Cir. 1984) (quoting Harrelson, 705 F.2d at 737). Denial of evidentiary hearing (sentencing): abuse of discretion United States v. Hass, 199 F.3d 749, 751 (5th Cir. 1999), citing United States v. Henderson, 19 F.3d 917, 927 (5th Cir. 1994) Denial of § 2255 without holding evidentiary hearing: abuse of discretion United States v. Cervantes, 132 F.3d 1106, 1110 (5th Cir. 1998), citing United States v. Bartholomew, 974 F.2d 39, 41 (5th Cir. 1992) (per curiam) New trial motion: Refusal of a hearing on a motion for new trial is reviewed for abuse of discretion. United States v. Blackthorne, 378 F.3d 449, 452 (5th Cir. 2004) (quoting United States v. Reedy, 304 F.3d 358, 371 n.17 (5th Cir. 2002); internal quotation marks, brackets, and further citation omitted)EXCULPATORY EVIDENCE: See BRADYEXCUSABLE NEGLECT (for failure to timely file notice of appeal): abuse of discretion United States v. Clark, 51 F.3d 42, 43 n.5 (5th Cir. 1995) (citations omitted)EXIGENT CIRCUMSTANCES: See SEARCH AND SEIZURE 15
  16. 16. EXPERTS: See EVIDENCEEYEWITNESS IDENTIFICATIONS -- See also IDENTIFICATION Decision whether to admit expert testimony on eyewitness reliability: abuse of discretion United States v. Jackson, 50 F.3d 1335, 1340 (5th Cir. 1995), citing United States v. Moore, 786 F.2d 1308, 1312 (5th Cir. 1986)FEDERAL RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE: Interpretation of the Rules: de novo United States v. Navarro, 169 F.3d 228, 235 (5th Cir. 1999), citing United States v. Dean, 100 F.3d 19, 20 (5th Cir. 1996)FELON IN POSSESSION: Whether civil rights have been sufficiently restored to preclude prosecution under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1): de novo United States v. Dupaquier, 74 F.3d 615, 617 (5th Cir.1996), citing United States v. Thomas, 991 F.2d 206, 209 (5th Cir. 1993)FINE: Determination of ability to pay a fine: clearly erroneous United States v. Thomas, 13 F.3d 151, 153 & n.8 (5th Cir. 1994), citing United States v. Favorito, 5 F.3d 1338 (9th Cir. 1993)FORFEITURE: Findings of fact: clearly erroneous Question of whether those facts constitute legally proper forfeiture: de novo United States v. Marmolejo, 89 F.3d 1185, 1197 (5th Cir. 1996) (citing United States v. 1977 Porsche Carrera 911, 946 F.2d 30, 33 (5th Cir. 1991)), aff’d sub nom. Salinas v. United States, 522 U.S. 52 (1997); see also United States v. Bankston, 182 F.3d 296, 318 (5th Cir. 1999) (citing Marmolejo) 16
  17. 17. Probable cause: Findings of fact: clearly erroneous Whether facts are legally sufficient to constitute probable cause: de novo United States v. $9,041,598.68, 163 F.3d 238, 246 (5th Cir. 1998), citing United States v. 1988 Oldsmobile Supreme, 983 F.2d 670, 674 (5th Cir. 1993) “The issue of standing [to contest forfeiture] is one of law, and review is plenary.” United States v. $9,041,598.68, 163 F.3d 238, 245 (5th Cir. 1998), citing United States v. $38,750 in U.S. Currency, 950 F.2d 1108, 111 (5th Cir. 1992)GUILTY PLEA: District court’s decision whether to accept a plea as factually supported: clearly erroneous United States v. Cano-Guel, 167 F.3d 900, 906 (5th Cir. 1999), citing United States v. Carter, 117 F.3d 262, 264 (5th Cir. 1997) Rule 11 (Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11) challenges: Generally: whether the requirements of Rule 11 were satisfied is a conclusion of law and is therefore reviewable de novo United States v. Scott, 987 F.2d 261, 264 (5th Cir. 1993); accord United States v. Cuevas-Andrade, 232 F.3d 440, 443 (5th Cir. 2000) (citing Scott) District courts finding that there is a factual basis for the plea, as required by Rule 11(f): clearly erroneous United States v. Carter, 117 F.3d 262, 264 (5th Cir. 1997) (citations omitted); United States v. Adams, 961 F.2d 505, 509 (5th Cir. 1992) (citation omitted) Validity of plea: de novo United States v. Hernandez, 234 F.3d 252, 254 (5th Cir. 2000), citing United States v. Amaya, 111 F.3d 386, 388 (5th Cir. 1997) Voluntariness of plea: de novo 17
  18. 18. United States v. Reyna, 130 F.3d 104, 111 (5th Cir. 1997) (citing Amaya and Howard, infra); United States v. Amaya, 111 F.3d 386, 388 (5th Cir. 1997) (citing Howard, infra); United States v. Howard, 991 F.2d 195, 199 (5th Cir. 1993), citing Marshall v. Lonberger, 459 U.S. 422, 431 (1983) Failure to object results in plain error review. United States v. Vonn, 535 U.S. 55, 59 (2002) Denial of motion to withdraw guilty plea: abuse of discretion United States v. Grant, 117 F.3d 788, 789 (5th Cir. 1997) (citing Henderson); United States v. Henderson, 72 F.3d 463, 465 (5th Cir. 1995), citing United States v. Bounds, 943 F.2d 541, 543 (5th Cir. 1991)HABEAS CORPUS (including § 2255): GENERALLY: In reviewing a district court’s grant of habeas relief, we review factual findings for clear error and issues of law de novo. See Dison v. Whitley, 20 F.3d 185, 186 (5th Cir. 1994). Mixed questions of law and fact are reviewed de novo by independently applying the law to the facts found by the district court, unless those factual determinations are clearly erroneous. See Gray v. Lynn, 6 F.3d 265, 266 (5th Cir. 1993). Lauti v. Johnson, 102 F.3d 166, 168-69 (5th Cir. 1996) Review of state court findings must show an “unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented at the state court proceedings.” Miller-El v. Dretke, 545 U.S. 231, 240 (2005) (citing 28 U.S.C.§ 2254(d)(2)). Certificate of appealability should be issued if “reasonable jurists would find the district court’s assessment of the constitutionality clearly debatable or wrong.” Miller-El v. Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 338 (2003) Denial of motion to abate/hold in abeyance: abuse of discretion Brewer v. Johnson, 139 F.3d 491, 492 (5th Cir. 1998) (citations omitted) Dismissal for abuse of the writ: abuse of discretion Dupuy v. Cain, 201 F.3d 582, 585 (5th Cir. 2000) (No. 99-30146), citing Rodriguez v. Johnson, 104 F.3d 694, 696 (5th Cir. 1997) 18
  19. 19. AEDPA: Applicability of AEDPA: de novo Graham v. Johnson, 168 F.3d 762, 772 (5th Cir. 1999), citing Kiser v. Johnson, 163 F.3d 326, 326-27 (5th Cir. 1999) District court’s decision to decline to invoke equitable tolling: abuse of discretion Fisher v. Johnson, 174 F.3d 710, 713 (5th Cir. 1999) (citation and footnote with further citations omitted) Denial of equitable tolling (where not based on error of law): abuse of discretion Molo v. Johnson, 207 F.3d 773, 774 (5th Cir. 2000) (footnote with citations omitted) Limitations: Whether a petition is barred by the AEDPA statute of limitations: de novo Foreman v. Dretke, 343 F.3d 336, 2004 WL 1900408, *1 (5th Cir. Aug. 27, 2004) (citing Giesberg v. Cockrell, 288 F.3d 268, 270 (5th Cir. 2002); Kiser v. Johnson, 163 F.3d 326, 327 (5th Cir. 1999) (citation omitted) Whether AEDPA’s statute of limitations is jurisdictional or an affirmative defense: de novo Kiser v. Johnson, 163 F.3d 326, 327 (5th Cir. 1999) (citation omitted)Denial of motion to alter or amend (Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e)): abuse of discretion Martinez v. Johnson, 104 F.3d 769, 771 (5th Cir. 1997) (footnote with citations omitted)Denial of leave to amend petition after answer is filed: abuse of discretion Briddle v. Scott, 63 F.3d 364, 379 (5th Cir. 1995) (§ 2254 petition) United States v. Riascos, 76 F.3d 93, 94 (5th Cir. 1996) (citation omitted) (§ 2255 motion) 19
  20. 20. United States v. Guerra, 94 F.3d 989, 993 (5th Cir. 1996) (citation omitted) (allowance of leave for government to amend answer to § 2255 petition)Coerced verdict (Allen charge issue): de novo Montoya v. Scott, 65 F.3d 405, 408 (5th Cir. 1995), citing Boyd v. Scott, 45 F.3d 876, 882 (5th Cir. 1994)Competency: mixed question of law and fact Whether a petitioner suffers from a mental disorder or incapacitating mental illness: question of fact, reviewed under clearly erroneous standard Ultimate competency finding: reviewing court takes a “hard look” (quasi-de novo?) Washington v. Johnson, 90 F.3d 945, 951 (5th Cir. 1996) (citations omitted)Whether admission of hearsay evidence violated a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right ofconfrontation: de novo Gochicoa v. Johnson, 118 F.3d 440, 445 (5th Cir. 1997) (citations omitted)Denial of review based upon state procedural ground: de novo Stokes v. Anderson, 123 F.3d 858, 859 (5th Cir. 1997) (citation omitted)Discovery requests under Rule 6: abuse of discretion; "however, a courts blanket denialof discovery is an abuse of discretion if discovery is indispensable to a fair, rounded,development of the material facts." East v. Scott, 55 F.3d 996, 1001 (5th Cir. 1995)Dismissal under Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(b): abuse of discretion Martinez v. Johnson, 104 F.3d 769, 771 (5th Cir. 1997) (footnote with citation omitted)Dismissal of § 2241 petition on the pleadings: de novo Pack v. Yusuff, 218 F.3d 448, 451 (5th Cir. 2000), citing Venegas v. Henman, 126 F.3d 760, 761 (5th Cir. 1997)Dismissal of § 2254 petition as frivolous under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d): abuse of discretion 20
  21. 21. McDonald v. Johnson, 139 F.3d 1056, 1059 (5th Cir. 1998), citing Hamilton v. Lyons, 74 F.3d 99, 102 (5th Cir. 1996)Dismissal based on presence of unexhausted state claims: abuse of discretion Brewer v. Johnson, 139 F.3d 491, 492 (5th Cir. 1998) (citations omitted)Double jeopardy claims: de novo Shute v. State of Texas, 117 F.3d 233, 238 (5th Cir. 1997) (citations omitted)Equitable tolling -- See topic heading of same name under AEDPA, supraDenial of § 2255 without holding evidentiary hearing: abuse of discretion United States v. Cervantes, 132 F.3d 1106, 1110 (5th Cir. 1998), citing United States v. Bartholomew, 974 F.2d 39, 41 (5th Cir. 1992) (per curiam)Findings of fact in a § 2241 (habeas corpus) petition: clearly erroneous Leggett v. Fleming, 380 F.3d 232, 234 (5th Cir. 2004); Venegas v. Henman, 126 F.3d 760, 761 (5th Cir. 1997)Findings of fact in a § 2254 petition: clearly erroneous Amos v. Scott, 61 F.3d 333, 337 & n.7 (5th Cir. 1995) (citation omitted)Findings of fact in a § 2255 motion: clearly erroneous United States v. Samuels, 59 F.3d 526, 528 (5th Cir. 1995) (citations omitted)Dismissal of § 2254 petition as frivolous under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d): abuse of discretion McDonald v. Johnson, 139 F.3d 1056, 1059 (5th Cir. 1998), citing Hamilton v. Lyons, 74 F.3d 99, 102 (5th Cir. 1996)District court’s harmless error determination: de novo Johnson v. Cain, 215 F.3d 489, 495 (5th Cir. 2000), citing Shaw v. Collins, 5 F.3d 128, 132 (5th Cir. 1994)Decision whether to hold a hearing on a § 2255 motion: abuse of discretion 21
  22. 22. United States v. Samuels, 59 F.3d 526, 530 & n.17 (5th Cir. 1995), citing United States v. Bartholomew, 974 F.2d 39, 41 (5th Cir. 1992)"Ineffective assistance of counsel is a mixed question of law and fact which we review denovo." Johnson v. Scott, 68 F.3d 106, 109 (5th Cir. 1995) (citations omitted); see also Green v. Johnson, 116 F.3d 1115, 1122 (5th Cir. 1997), citing Salazar v. Johnson, 96 F.3d 789, 791 (5th Cir. 1996) (§ 2254) ALSO United States v. Placente, 81 F.3d 555, 558 (5th Cir. 1996), citing United States v. Faubion, 19 F.3d 226, 228 (5th Cir. 1994); United States v. Williamson, 183 F.3d 458, 462 (5th Cir. 1999), citing United States v. Flores-Ochoa, 139 F.3d 1022, 1024 (5th Cir. 1998) (§ 2255) BUT: “[Although] the district court’s conclusion is reviewed de novo . . . its underlying factual findings are reviewed for clear error.” Jones v. Jones, 163 F.3d 285, 299 (5th Cir. 1998) (citations omitted)See generally Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687 (1984)(petitioner mustshow counsel’s performance was deficient and prejudice)Denial of investigative funds under 21 U.S.C. § 848(q): abuse of discretion Riley v. Dretke, 362 F.3d 302, 305 (5th Cir. 2004); Clark v. Johnson, 202 F.3d 760, 769 (5th Cir. 2000)Jurisdiction: “We review de novo the district court’s determination of its jurisdiction.” Wadsworth v. Johnson, 235 F.3d 959, 961 (5th Cir. 2000) (citations omitted)Jury instructions:In evaluating a constitutional challenge to a jury instruction, a reviewing court must "inquirewhether there is a reasonable likelihood that the jury has applied the challenged instructionin a way that violates the Constitution." Estelle v. McGuire, 502 U.S. 62, 72 (1991), quotingBoyde v. California, 494 U.S. 370, 380 (1990); see also Estelle v. McGuire, id. at 72 n.4(expressly disapproving seemingly contradictory standards of review in previous cases). Thecourt must determine "whether the ailing instruction by itself so infected the entire trial thatthe resulting conviction violates due process." Cupp v. Naughten, 414 U.S. 141, 147 (1973). 22
  23. 23. Issues of law: (§ 2241/habeas corpus): de novo Leggett v. Fleming, 380 F.3d 232, 234 (5th Cir. 2004); Venegas v. Henman, 126 F.3d 760, 761 (5th Cir. 1997) (§ 2254): de novo Clark v. Scott, 70 F.3d 386, 388 (5th Cir. 1995), citing Barnard v. Collins, 958 F.2d 634, 636 (5th Cir. 1992); Amos v. Scott, 61 F.3d 333, 338 & n.7 (5th Cir. 1995) (citation omitted) (§ 2255): de novo United States v. Placente, 81 F.3d 555, 558 (5th Cir. 1996), citing United States v. Seyfert, 67 F.3d 544, 546 (5th Cir. 1995)Limitations: Whether a petition is barred by the AEDPA statute of limitations: de novo Kiser v. Johnson, 163 F.3d 326, 327 (5th Cir. 1999) (citation omitted) Whether AEDPA’s statute of limitations is jurisdictional or an affirmative defense: de novo Kiser v. Johnson, 163 F.3d 326, 327 (5th Cir. 1999) (citation omitted)Due process claim of knowing use of perjured testimony: Underlying facts: clear error Conclusions from the facts: de novo Fairman v. Anderson, 188 F.3d 635, 640 (5th Cir. 1999) (citation omitted)Prison discipline: Whether there was any evidence to support the prison disciplinary board’s guilty finding: de novo Hudson v. Johnson, 242 F.3d 534, 535 (5th Cir. 2001) (citation omitted) 23
  24. 24. District court’s determination respecting procedural bar: de novo Johnson v. Cain, 215 F.3d 489, 494 (5th Cir. 2000), quoting and citing Boyd v. Scott, 45 F.3d 876, 879 (5th Cir. 1994)Procedural default (district courts denial of federal habeas corpus on state proceduralground): de novo Stokes v. Anderson, 123 F.3d 858, 859 (5th Cir. 1997) (citation omitted); Amos v. Scott, 61 F.3d 333, 338 & n.8 (5th Cir. 1995) (citation omitted) Adequacy of state procedural rule (whether state procedural rule is applied regularly and evenhandedly enough to constitute procedural default): de novo Reed v. Scott, 70 F.3d 844, 846 & n.12 (5th Cir. 1995), citing Amos v. Scott, 61 F.3d 333 (5th Cir. 1995) (citation omitted) Grant of review of claims defaulted in state court pursuant to an independent and adequate state rule: de novo Fairman v. Anderson, 188 F.3d 635, 640 (5th Cir. 1999) (citation omitted)Denial of motion for reconsideration: abuse of discretion Briddle v. Scott, 63 F.3d 364, 379 (5th Cir. 1995)Denial of motion for relief from judgment under Rule 60(b): abuse of discretion Behringer v. Johnson, 75 F.3d 189, 190 (5th Cir. 1996), citing Fackelman v. Bell, 564 F.2d 734, 736 (5th Cir. 1977)Stay of execution: Refusal to grant stay: abuse of discretion Brewer v. Johnson, 139 F.3d 491, 493 (5th Cir. 1998) (citations omitted); see also Lackey v. Scott, 52 F.3d 98, 100 (5th Cir. 1995), citing Delo v. Stokes, 495 U.S. 320, 322 (1990) Stay of execution under 28 U.S.C. § 2251: abuse of discretion Lackey v. Scott, 52 F.3d 98, 100 (5th Cir. 1995), citing Delo v. Stokes, 495 U.S. 320, 322 (1990) 24
  25. 25. Successive petitions: Dismissal of second or subsequent petition (§ 2254): abuse of discretion Rodriguez v. Johnson, 104 F.3d 694, 696 (5th Cir. 1997) (citations omitted); James v. Cain, 56 F.3d 662, 665 (5th Cir. 1995) (citations omitted) Denial of successive § 2255 motion: abuse of discretion United States v. Espinoza, 82 F.3d 640, 642 (5th Cir. 1996), citing United States v. Flores, 981 F.2d 231, 234 (5th Cir. 1993) Summary judgment: § 2255: de novo United States v. Kimler, 167 F.3d 889, 892 (5th Cir. 1999), citing Kopycinski v. Scott, 64 F.3d 223, 225 (5th Cir. 1995) § 2254: de novo Fisher v. State of Texas, 169 F.3d 295, 299 (5th Cir. 1999), citing Kopycinski v. Scott, 64 F.3d 223, 225 (5th Cir. 1995) SEE ALSO Teague v. Scott, 60 F.3d 1167, 1170 (5th Cir. 1995) (citation omitted) (where no state court findings entitled to presumption of correctness, grant of summary judgment reviewed de novo) Whether judicial decision announces “new rule” under Teague v. Lane, thus prohibiting retroactive application to cases already final at time of announcement of new rule: de novo United States v. Shunk, 113 F.3d 31, 34 (5th Cir. 1997) (§ 2255) Dismissal based on presence of unexhausted state claims: abuse of discretion Brewer v. Johnson, 139 F.3d 491, 492 (5th Cir. 1998) (citations omitted)HEARING -- See EVIDENTIARY HEARINGHYDE AMENDMENT: Decision whether or not to award attorney fees under the Hyde Amendment: abuse 25
  26. 26. of discretion Legal determinations underlying the district court’s decision: de novo United States v. Truesdale, 211 F.3d 898, 905-06 (5th Cir. 2000)IDENTIFICATION: Whether identification evidence and the fruits therefrom are admissible at trial (i.e., whether a defendant’s Fifth Amendment rights are violated by the introduction of impermissibly suggestive and inherently unreliable photographic identification evidence): de novo Underlying factual findings: clearly erroneous United States v. Honer, 225 F.3d 549, 552 (5th Cir. 2000) (citations omitted); see also United States v. Hickman, 151 F.3d 446, 459 (5th Cir. 1998) (citing United States v. Fletcher, 121 F.3d 187, 194 (5th Cir. 1997)), vacated on other grounds, 165 F.3d 1020 (1999) (en banc)IMPEACHMENT: “Whether disclosures of impeachment information violate any constitutional or statutory right of the defendant is determined as a question of law. This court reviews questions of law de novo.” United States v. Martinez, 151 F.3d 384, 390 (5th Cir. 1998) (citations omitted)INDICTMENT: Sufficiency of indictment (where objected to in district court): de novo United States v. Cabrera-Teran, 168 F.3d 141, 143 (5th Cir. 1999), citing United States v. Fitzgerald, 89 F.3d 218, 221 (5th Cir. 1996); United States v. Asibor, 109 F.3d 1023, 1037 (5th Cir. 1997), citing United States v. Green, 964 F.2d 365, 372, (5th Cir. 1992); United States v. Hord, 6 F.3d 276, 283 (5th Cir. 1993), citing United States v. Aguilar, 967 F.2d 111, 112 (5th Cir. 1992) See also United States v. Kay, 359 F.3d 738, 742 (5th Cir. 2004) (“We review de novo . . . ‘whether an indictment sufficiently alleges the elements of an offense.’”) (citing United States v. Santos-Riviera, 183 F.3d 367, 369 (5th Cir. 1999)). Sufficiency of indictment (where first raised on appeal): indictment to be read with 26
  27. 27. "maximum liberality" United States v. Cabrera-Teran, 168 F.3d 141, 143 (5th Cir. 1999), citing United States v. Fitzgerald, 89 F.3d 218, 221 (5th Cir. 1996); United States v. Rivera, 879 F.2d 1247, 1251 n.3 (5th Cir. 1989). Failure to object results in plain error review. United States v. Cotton, 535 U.S. 625 (2002) Denial of motion to strike language from indictment: abuse of discretion United States v. Graves, 5 F.3d 1546, 1550 (5th Cir. 1993), citing United States v. Bullock, 451 F.2d 884, 888 (5th Cir. 1971)INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL: "Ineffective assistance of counsel is a mixed question of law and fact which we review de novo." Johnson v. Scott, 68 F.3d 106, 109 (5th Cir. 1995) (citations omitted) (§ 2254) ALSO United States v. Placente, 81 F.3d 555, 558 (5th Cir. 1996), citing United States v. Faubion, 19 F.3d 226, 228 (5th Cir. 1994); United States v. Williamson, 183 F.3d 458, 462 (5th Cir. 1999), citing United States v. Flores-Ochoa, 139 F.3d 1022, 1024 (5th Cir. 1998) (§ 2255) BUT: “[Although] the district court’s conclusion is reviewed de novo . . . its underlying factual findings are reviewed for clear error.” Jones v. Jones, 163 F.3d 285, 299 (5th Cir. 1998) (citations omitted) See generally Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687 (1984)(deficient performance and prejudice)INFORMANTS: Grant or denial of disclosure of an informant: abuse of discretion United States v. Thomas, 348 F.3d 78, 85 (5th Cir. 2003) (holding standard is abuse of discretion) (citing United States v. Wilson, 77 F.3d 105, 111 (5th Cir. 1996)); United States v. Wilson, 77 F.3d 105, 111 (5th Cir. 1996) (citing United States v. Evans, 941 F.2d 267, 272 (5th Cir. 1991)) 27
  28. 28. INSANITY/ INCOMPETENCY: Competency: mixed question of law and fact Whether a petitioner suffers from a mental disorder or incapacitating mental illness: question of fact, reviewed under clearly erroneous standard Ultimate competency finding: reviewing court takes a “hard look” (quasi-de novo?) Washington v. Johnson, 90 F.3d 945, 951 (5th Cir. 1996) (citations omitted) Whether district court should sua sponte order competency hearing: abuse of discretion Jury instruction: Whether defendant has produced sufficient evidence to entitle him to an insanity instruction: de novo United States v. Dixon, 185 F.3d 393, 403 (5th Cir. 1999) Existence of "reasonable cause" to put court on notice that defendant might be mentally incompetent: abuse of discretion United States v. Davis, 61 F.3d 291, 303-304 (5th Cir. 1995) (citations omitted) Whether insanity acquittee should be released pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4243: clearly erroneous United States v. Jackson, 19 F.2d 1003, 1006 (5th Cir. 1994)INTERPRETERS: Appointment of interpreters: abuse of discretion United States v. Bell, 367 F.3d 452, 463 (5th Cir. 2004) ( “We review the decision to appoint an interpreter for abuse of discretion.”) (citing United States v. Ball, 988 F.2d 7, 9 (5th Cir. 1993)INVENTORY SEARCH: Whether search is a valid inventory search: de novo United States v. Como, 53 F.3d 87, 91 (5th Cir. 1995), quoting and citing United States v. Gallo, 927 F.2d 815, 819 (5th Cir. 1991) 28
  29. 29. JENCKS ACT: “We review a district court’s decisions regarding discovery under the Jencks Act for clear error.” United States v. Hodgkiss, 116 F.3d 116, 117 (5th Cir. 1997) (citing United States v. Medel, 592 F.2d 1305, 1316 (5th Cir. 1979)), judgment vacated on other grounds sub nom. Hodgkiss v. United States, 522 U.S. 1012 (1997); see also United States v. Ramirez, 174 F.3d 584, 587 (5th Cir. 1999), citing United States v. Martinez, 87 F.3d 731, 734 (5th Cir. 1996) Whether written materials constitute a "statement" under the Jencks Act: clearly erroneous United States v. Fragoso, 978 F.2d 896, 899 (5th Cir. 1992) BUT where a district courts conclusion that written materials are not Jencks Act statements is based upon an error of law, that conclusion is not subject to clearly erroneous review, and remand is required. United States v. Welch, 810 F.2d 485, 490 (5th Cir. 1987) AND “The trial court’s finding will constitute clear error where such finding either rests upon an incorrect rule of law or is inconsistent with the facts upon which it purports to rest.” United States v. Ramirez, 174 F.3d 584, 587 (5th Cir. 1999) (internal quotation marks omitted), quoting United States v. Martinez, 87 F.3d 731, 734 (5th Cir. 1996) See also United States v. Martinez, 151 F.3d 384, 390 (5th Cir. 1998) (“Whether disclosures of impeachment information violate any constitutional or statutory right of the defendant is determined as a question of law. This court reviews questions of law de novo.”) (citations omitted) [quote made in context of Jencks Act challenge]JUDGMENT OF ACQUITTAL: Denial of motion for judgment of acquittal: de novo United States v. Muñoz, 150 F.3d 401, 416 (5th Cir. 1998), citing United States v. Greer, 137 F.3d 247, 249 (5th Cir. 1998); United States v. Rasco, 123 F.3d 222, 228 (5th Cir. 1997), citing United States v. Castaneda-Cantu, 20 F.3d 1325, 1330 (5th Cir. 1994) “We review de novo the district court’s legal conclusion that it had no jurisdiction to 29
  30. 30. entertain [defendant’s] third posttrial motion for judgment of acquittal.” United States v. Mulderig, 120 F.3d 534, 544 (5th Cir. 1997) (citation omitted)JURISDICTION: Challenges to a district court’s jurisdiction: de novo United States v. Bredimus, 352 F.3d 200, 203 (5th Cir. 2003), citing United States v. Sims Bros. Const., Inc., 277 F.3d 734, 741 (5th Cir. 2001) Dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction: de novo United States v. McGill, 74 F.3d 64, 65 (5th Cir. 1996), citing Matter of Bradley, 989 F.2d 802, 804 (5th Cir. 1993) Jurisdiction generally: “We review the issue of the district court’s jurisdiction de novo.” United States v. Lynch, 114 F.3d 61, 63 (5th Cir. 1997), citing In re United States Abatement Corp., 39 F.3d 563, 566 (5th Cir. 1994) Legal determinations: “We review legal determination regarding the subject matter jurisdiction of a district court de novo.” United States v. Urrabazo, 234 F.3d 904, 906 (5th Cir. 2000) (citing United States v. Alvarado, 201 F.3d 379, 381 (5th Cir. 2000)); see also United States v. Fernandez, 379 F.3d 270, 273 (5th Cir. 2004) (“We review the district court’s legal conclusions regarding jurisdiction de novo.”) Jurisdiction to resentence: de novo United States v. Gonzalez, 163 F.3d 255, 263 (5th Cir. 1998), citing United States v. Bridges, 116 F.3d 1110, 1112 (5th Cir. 1997) Subject matter jurisdiction: de novo In re Grand Jury Proceedings, 115 F.3d 1240, 1243 (5th Cir. 1997) (citation omitted); United States v. Teran, 98 F.3d 831, 833-34 (5th Cir. 1996), citing In re United States Abatement Corp., 39 F.3d 563, 566 (5th Cir. 1994)JURY: Empanelment of anonymous jury: abuse of discretion 30
  31. 31. United States v. Krout, 66 F.3d 1420, 1426 (5th Cir. 1995)Decisions regarding jury bias: abuse of discretion United States v. Webster, 162 F.3d 308, 342 (5th Cir. 1998), citing United States v. Hall, 152 F.3d 381, 407 (5th Cir. 1998); United States v. Wilson, 116 F.3d 1066, 1068 (5th Cir. 1997)Denial of challenge for cause (conclusion that prospective jurors could perform their dutiesas jurors: manifest error United States v. Scott, 159 F.3d 916, 925 (5th Cir. 1998), citing United States v. Dozier, 672 F.2d 531, 547 (5th Cir. 1982)Eleven-member jury: “We review for abuse of discretion a district court’s decision to permit an eleven- member jury to return a verdict after the district court has dismissed the twelfth juror for just cause.” United States v. Cantu, 167 F.3d 198, 206 (5th Cir. 1999), citing Fed. R. Crim. P. 23(b) and United States v. O’Brien, 898 F.2d 983, 986 (5th Cir. 1990)Excusal of juror: abuse of discretion United States v. Speer, 30 F.3d 605, 610-11 (5th Cir. 1994); United States v. Huntress, 956 F.2d 1309, 1312 (5th Cir. 1992)Extrinsic influences: Conclusion/determination that jury was not improperly tainted by extrinsic evidence: clearly erroneous United States v. Cantu, 167 F.3d 198, 201 (5th Cir. 1999) (citation omitted) Evidentiary hearings: No hearing held: decision not to hold a hearing at all is reviewed for abuse of (broad) discretion. United States v. Chiantese, 582 F.2d 974, 980 (5th Cir. 1978), cited in United States v. Ramos, 71 F.3d 1150, 1153 & n.5 (5th Cir. 1995) 31
  32. 32. Limited hearing held/scope of hearing limited: reviewed for abuse of (broad) discretion (Chiantese standard) United States v. Ramos, 71 F.3d 1150, 1153-54 (5th Cir. 1995) Handling of such complaints generally: abuse of discretion United States v. Sylvester, 143 F.3d 923, 931 (5th Cir. 1998), citing United States v. Sotelo, 97 F.3d 782, 794 (5th Cir. 1996) SEE ALSO United States v. Cantu, 167 F.3d 198, 201 (5th Cir. 1999) (district court’s choice of methods to investigate possibility of extrinsic taint reviewed for abuse of discretion) (citations omitted)“Fair cross section”: Trial court’s factual determination that there was no systematic exclusion of minority members from venire: clearly erroneous United States v. Sotelo, 97 F.3d 782, 790-91 (5th Cir. 1996), citing United States v. McKinney, 53 F.3d 664 (5th Cir. 1995)Decision whether or not to dismiss a juror for lack of impartiality: clear abuse of discretion United States v. Medina, 161 F.3d 867, 871 (5th Cir. 1998), citing United States v. Graves, 5 F.3d 1546, 1554 (5th Cir. 1993)Denial of motion for mistrial based on allegation of improper extrajudicial conduct byjurors: abuse of discretion United States v. Denman, 100 F.3d 399, 405 (5th Cir. 1996)Refusal to permit post-trial interviews of jurors: abuse of discretion United States v. Sotelo, 97 F.3d 782, 794 (5th Cir. 1996) (involving N.D. Tex. Loc. R. 8.2(e); citations omitted)Denial of motion for mistrial based upon jurors’ failure to disclose relevant informationduring voir dire: abuse of discretion United States v. Brown, 102 F.3d 1390, 1398 (5th Cir. 1996) (citation omitted)Juror misconduct: 32
  33. 33. Decision whether or not to hold evidentiary hearing: abuse of discretion Denial of new trial based upon juror misconduct: abuse of discretion Procedures used to investigate allegations of juror misconduct: abuse of discretion United States v. Jobe, 101 F.3d 1046, 1057-58 (5th Cir. 1996) (citations omitted) Motion to strike jury panel: Determinations of fact: clear error Determinations of law: de novo United States v. Alix, 86 F.3d 429, 434 (5th Cir. 1996), citing United States v. McKinney, 53 F.3d 664, 670-71 (5th Cir. 1995)JURY INSTRUCTIONS: Overall test: Court reviews to determine whether the courts charge, as a whole, is a correct statement of the law and whether it clearly instructs jurors as to the principles of law applicable to the factual issues confronting them. United States v. Laury, 985 F.2d 1293, 1300 (5th Cir. 1993) Standard of review for alleged errors in instructions: abuse of discretion United States v. Coleman, 997 F.2d 1101, 1105 (5th Cir. 1993), citing United States v. Chaney, 964 F.2d 437, 444 (5th Cir. 1992) Refusal to give a requested instruction: abuse of discretion United States v. Thomas, 12 F.3d 1350, 1365 (5th Cir. 1994); United States v. Sellers, 926 F.2d 410, 414 (5th Cir. 1991) Giving of Allen charge to deadlocked jury: abuse of discretion United States v. Rivas, 99 F.3d 170, 175 (5th Cir. 1996), citing United States v. Pace, 10 F.3d 1106, 1125 (5th Cir. 1993) Elements of crime: 33
  34. 34. “[W]e review de novo whether the jury instruction misstated an element of the statutory crime.” United States v. Morales-Palacios, 369 F.3d 442, 445 (5th Cir. 2004) (citing United States v. Ho, 311 F.3d 589, 605 (5th Cir. 2002))Whether district court directed a verdict on an element, de novo. United States v.Simkanian, 420 F.3d 397, 403-04 (5th Cir. 2003)Entrapment: Generally: “We review de novo a trial court’s refusal to instruct the jury on the defense of entrapment.” United States v. Gutierrez, 343 F.3d 415, 419 (5th Cir. 2003) (citing United States v. Ogle, 328 F.3d 182, 185 (5th Cir. 2003)) Whether evidence is insufficient to support a jury finding that a defendant was not entrapped: “‘When a jury, which was fully charged on entrapment, rejects the defendant’s entrapment defense, the applicable standard of review is the same as that which applies to sufficiency of the evidence.’” United States v. Thompson, 130 F.3d 676, 688 (5th Cir. 1997), quoting United States v. Rodriguez, 43 F.3d 117, 126 (5th Cir. 1995) SEE ALSO United States v. Gutierrez, 343 F.3d 415, 419 (5th Cir. 2003) (“[W]hen a defendant’s properly requested entrapment instruction is undergirded by evidence sufficient to support a reasonable jury’s finding of entrapment, the district court errs reversibly by not adequately charging the jury on the theory of entrapment.”) (citing United States v. Ogle, 328 F.3d 182, 185 (5th Cir. 2003) (internal quotation marks and further citation omitted).Whether defendant has produced sufficient evidence to entitle him to an insanityinstruction: de novo United States v. Dixon, 185 F.3d 393, 403 (5th Cir. 1999)Refusal to give a lesser included offense instruction: two-prong test: 34
  35. 35. Whether elements of lesser included offense are a subset of the greater offense: de novo Whether jury could rationally find lesser offense and acquit on the greater: abuse of discretion United States v. Avants, 367 F.3d 433, 450 (5th Cir. 2004); United States v. Estrada-Fernandez, 150 F.3d 491, 494 (5th Cir. 1998); United States v. Harrison, 55 F.3d 163, 167 (5th Cir. 1995) Refusal to give requested specific unanimity instruction: abuse of discretion United States v. Correa-Ventura, 6 F.3d 1070, 1076 (5th Cir. 1993); United States v. Sasser, 971 F.2d 470, 477 (10th Cir. 1992); United States v. Beros, 833 F.2d 455, 458 n.3 (3rd Cir. 1987) “Whether the evidence is sufficient to justify the giving of a particular charge is a ‘fact- intensive’ question and thus is reviewed under the clearly erroneous standard.” United States v. Hull, 160 F.3d 265, 271 (5th Cir. 1998), citing United States v. Lara- Velasquez, 919 F.2d 946, 952 (5th Cir. 1990) Refusal to give a requested “theory of defense” instruction: de novo United States v. Bradfield, 113 F.3d 515, 520 (5th Cir. 1997), citing United States v. Gentry, 839 F.2d 1065, 1071 (5th Cir. 1988) SEE ALSO United States v. Gutierrez, 343 F.3d 415, 419 (5th Cir. 2003) (“[W]here there is an evidentiary foundation for a theory of defense that, if credited by the jury, would be legally sufficient to render the accused innocent, it is reversible error to refuse to charge on that theory.”) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).JURY SELECTION AND SERVICE ACT: Decision to excuse an individual juror under the Act: abuse of discretion Interpretation of the Act’s language: de novo United States v. Hemmingson, 157 F.3d 347, 358 (5th Cir. 1998), citing United States v. Contreras, 108 F.3d 1255, 1265 (10th Cir. 1997)JUVENILES: 35
  36. 36. Certification of juveniles for federal prosecution under 18 U.S.C. § 5032: de novo United States v. Male Juvenile, 148 F.3d 468, 469 (5th Cir. 1998); see also United States v. Sealed Juvenile 1, 225 F.3d 507, 508 (5th Cir. 2000) (citing Male Juvenile) NOTE: “The need certification under 18 U.S.C. § 5032 is a jurisdictional requirement; therefore, a challenge to the legal sufficiency of the certification filed in the present case can be raised at any time.” United States v. Sealed Juvenile 1, 225 F.3d 507, 508 (5th Cir. 2000) (citing Male Juvenile) Interpretation of the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act (18 U.S.C. § 5031 et seq.): de novo United States v. Wilson, 116 F.3d 1066, 1093 (5th Cir. 1997), on reh’g en banc on other grounds United States v. Brown, 161 F.3d 256 (5th Cir. 1998) (en banc) Decision whether to transfer a juvenile for adult prosecution pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 5032: abuse of discretion, provided that court employs and makes findings as to the six criteria outlined in § 5032 United States v. Three Male Juveniles, 49 F.3d 1058, 1060 (5th Cir. 1995), citing United States v. Bilbo, 19 F.3d 912, 915 (5th Cir. 1994) Speedy trial (18 U.S.C. § 5036): Factual findings: clearly erroneous Conclusions of law: de novo United States v. Sealed Juvenile 1, 192 F.3d 488, 490 (5th Cir. 1999)LAW: Questions of law: de novo United States v. Dupaquier, 74 F.3d 615, 617 (5th Cir.1996), citing United States v. Thomas, 991 F.2d 206, 209 (5th Cir.1993)LAW OF THE CASE: “Whether the law of the case doctrine foreclosed the district court’s exercise of discretion on remand and the interpretation of this court’s remand order present questions of law that 36
  37. 37. this court reviews de novo.” United States v. Lee, 358 F.3d 315, 320 (5th Cir. 2004) (citations omitted).LIMITATIONS: See STATUTE OF LIMITATIONSMENS REA: Whether a statute contains a particular mens rea requirement: de novo United States v. Privett, 68 F.3d 101, 104 (5th Cir. 1995) “The question of to which elements of the offenses the word ‘knowingly’ applies is a question of pure statutory construction which we review de novo.” United States v. Ahmad, 101 F.3d 386, 389 (5th Cir. 1996), citing United States v. Snyder, 930 F.2d 1090, 1093 (5th Cir. 1991)MISTRIAL: Grant or denial of a mistrial generally: abuse of discretion United States v. Willis, 6 F.3d 257, 263 (5th Cir. 1993), citing United States v. Coveney, 995 F.2d 578, 584 (5th Cir. 1993) Denial of motion for mistrial based on allegation of improper extrajudicial conduct by jurors: abuse of discretion United States v. Denman, 100 F.3d 399, 405 (5th Cir. 1996) Denial of motion for mistrial based upon jurors’ failure to disclose relevant information during voir dire: abuse of discretion United States v. Brown, 102 F.3d 1390, 1398 (5th Cir. 1996) (citation omitted) Midtrial publicity (whether publicity during a trial is so prejudicial as to require a mistrial): abuse of discretion United States v. Bass, 10 F.3d 256, 259 (5th Cir. 1993) Motion for mistrial based upon an alleged prejudicial comment by the prosecution: abuse of discretion 37
  38. 38. United States v. Heacock, 31 F.3d 249, 256 (5th Cir. 1994), citing United States v. Bentley-Smith, 2 F.3d 1368, 1378 (5th Cir. 1993)MULTIPLICITY: de novo United States v. Hord, 6 F.3d 276, 280 (5th Cir. 1993), citing United States v. Brechtel, 997 F.2d 1108, 1112 (5th Cir. 1993)NEW TRIAL: Characterization of district court’s ruling (i.e., grant of new trial, or grant of judgment of acquittal?): de novo United States v. Robertson, 110 F.3d 1113, 1116 (5th Cir. 1997) Denial of motion for new trial based on alleged extrinsic influence on jury: abuse of discretion United States v. Kelley, 140 F.3d 596, 608 (5th Cir. 1998), citing United States v. Jobe, 101 F.3d 1046, 1058 (5th Cir. 1996) Procedures used to investigate & whether evidentiary hearing is granted: abuse of discretion United States v. Kelley, 140 F.3d 596, 608 (5th Cir. 1998), citing United States v. Jobe, 101 F.3d 1046, 1058 (5th Cir. 1996) Denial of motion for new trial generally: abuse of discretion United States v. Blackthorne, 378 F.3d 449, 452 (5th Cir. 2004) (citing United States v. Gresham, 118 F.3d 258, 267 (5th Cir. 1997)); United States v. Brechtel, 997 F.2d 1108, 1120 & n.54 (5th Cir. 1993); United States v. Baytank (Houston), 934 F.2d 599 (5th Cir. 1991); United States v. Arroyo, 805 F.2d 589, 599 (5th Cir. 1986) Evidentiary hearing: “Refusal of a hearing on a motion for new trial is reviewed for abuse of discretion.” United States v. Blackthorne, 378 F.3d 449, 455 (5th Cir. 2004) (quoting United States v. Reedy, 304 F.3d 358, 371 n.17 (5th Cir. 2002)); internal quotation marks, brackets, and further citation omitted) Denial of motion for new trial (generally): abuse of discretion 38
  39. 39. United States v. Scroggins, 379 F.3d 233, 239 (5th Cir. 2004) Denial of motion for new trial based on newly discovered evidence: clear abuse of discretion United States v. Freeman, 77 F.3d 812, 815 (5th Cir. 1996), citing United States v. Simmons, 714 F.2d 29, 31 (5th Cir. 1983) BUT SEE United States v. Sullivan, 112 F.3d 180, 182 (5th Cir. 1997) (citation omitted) (standard is “abuse of discretion”) Grant of motion for new trial: abuse of discretion United States v. Robertson, 110 F.3d 1113, 1116 (5th Cir. 1997), citing United States v. Sanchez-Sotelo, 8 F.3d 202, 212 (5th Cir. 1993) Questions of law: de novo United States v. O’Keefe, 128 F.3d 885, 893 (5th Cir. 1997), citing Munn v. Algee, 924 F.2d 568, 575 (5th Cir. 1991) Mixed questions of law and fact: Underlying facts: abuse of discretion Conclusions to be drawn from those facts: de novo United States v. O’Keefe, 128 F.3d 885, 893 (5th Cir. 1997), citing Ornelas v. United States, 517 U.S. 690, 696-97, 116 S. Ct. 1657, 1662 (1996) Motion for new trial based on weight of the evidence: clear abuse of discretion United States v. Robertson, 110 F.3d 1113, 1116 (5th Cir. 1997), citing United States v. Sanchez-Sotelo, 8 F.3d 202, 212 (5th Cir. 1993)OUTRAGEOUS GOVERNMENTAL MISCONDUCT: Decision to dismiss or not on basis of alleged due process violation from outrageous governmental misconduct: de novo United States v. Gutierrez, 343 F.3d 415, 421 (5th Cir. 2003) (citing United States v. Asibor, 109 F.3d 1023, 1039 (5th Cir. 1997)) 39
  40. 40. United States v. Asibor, 109 F.3d 1023, 1039 (5th Cir. 1997), citing United States v. Graves, 556 F.2d 1319, 1322 (5th Cir. 1977); United States v. Johnson, 68 F.3d 899, 902 & n.1 (5th Cir. 1995) (also citing Graves) Decision not to hold evidentiary hearing: abuse of discretion United States v. Gutierrez, 343 F.3d 415, 421 (5th Cir. 2003) (citing United States v. Linetsky, 533 F.2d 192, 203 (5th Cir. 1976))PAROLE: Review of decisions of United States Parole Commission: “This court’s review of the decision of the Parole Commission is ‘quite circumscribed.” Villareal v. U.S. Parole Comm’n, 985 F.2d 835, 839 (5th Cir. 1993). The court ‘simply ask[s] whether there is some evidence in the record to support the Commission’s decision.’ Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). The Parole Commission’s decision will be affirmed unless its action ‘is flagrant, unwarranted, or unauthorized.’ Maddox v. U.S. Parole Comm’n, 821 F.2d 997, 1000 (5th Cir. 1987) (internal quotations and citations omitted).” Van Etten v. U.S. Parole Comm’n, 96 F.3d 144, 145 (5th Cir. 1996) Review of Sentencing Guidelines decisions made by Parole Commission in treaty transfer cases: Factual findings: clearly erroneous Guidelines determinations: de novo Rosier v. U.S. Parole Comm’n, 109 F.3d 212, 214 (5th Cir. 1997), citing Molano-Garza v. U.S. Parole Comm’n, 965 F.2d 20, 23 (5th Cir. 1992)PHOTOGRAPHS: Admission of photographs into evidence: abuse of discretion United States v. Weeks, 919 F.2d 248, 253 (5th Cir. 1990); United States v. Kaiser, 545 F.2d 467, 476 (5th Cir. 1977)PLAIN ERROR: 40
  41. 41. Failure to object in the trial court results in review solely for plain error. Fed. R. Crim. P. 52(b);United States v. Calverley, 37 F.3d 160, 162 (5th Cir. 1994) (en banc).An appellate court will find plain error “only if: (1) there was an error; (2) the error was clear andobvious; and (3) the error affected the defendant’s substantial rights.” United States v. Calverley,37 F.3d 160, 163-64 (5th Cir. 1994), quoting United States v. Olano, 507 U.S. 725, 732 (1993).When these elements are present, the appellate court may exercise its discretion to correct the errorif it “seriously affects the fairness, integrity, or public reputation of judicial proceedings.” Calverley,37 F.3d at 164.PLEA AGREEMENT: Alleged breach of plea agreement: de novo United States v. Saling, 205 F.3d 764, 766 (5th Cir. 2000) (footnote with citations omitted); United States v. Castaneda, 162 F.3d 832, 836 (5th Cir. 1998) (citations omitted); United States v. Moulder, 141 F.3d 568, 571 (5th Cir. 1998) (citation omitted); United States v. Laday, 56 F.3d 24, 25-26 (5th Cir. 1995) (citation omitted) But defendant must prove breach by preponderance of the evidence, United States v. Solis, 299 F.3d 420, 434 (5th Cir. 2002) Existence of a plea agreement: clearly erroneous United States v. Chagra, 957 F.2d 192, 194 (5th Cir. 1992) (citations omitted) District court’s findings as to the underlying facts that constitute breach: clearly erroneous United States v. Castaneda, 162 F.3d 832, 836 n.24 (5th Cir. 1998) BUT NOTE: Where district court fails to make any factual findings, appellate court “must conduct a de novo review of every aspect of [the defendant’s] purported breach.” United States v. Castaneda, 162 F.3d 832, 836 n.24 (5th Cir. 1998) Findings with respect to plea discussions/negotiations, existence and terms of plea agreement, and whether promise induced plea: clearly erroneous United States v. Kirk, 70 F.3d 791, 793 (5th Cir. 1995) (citing United States v. Williams, 809 F.2d 1072, 1079 (5th Cir. 1987)), judgment aff’d by an equally divided en banc court, 105 F.3d 997 (5th Cir. 1997) (en banc) 41
  42. 42. Rejection of a plea agreement: abuse of discretion United States v. Crowell, 60 F.3d 199, 205 (5th Cir. 1995) (citations omitted)PRE-INDICTMENT DELAY: Generally: “The district court’s factual determinations are reviewed only for clear error; its conclusions of law, de novo.” United States v. Avants, 367 F.3d 433, 441 (5th Cir. 2004) (citing United States v. Beszborn, 21 F.3d 62, 66 (5th Cir. 1994)) Entitlement to discovery/evidentiary hearing: abuse of discretion United States v. Mulderig, 120 F.3d 534, 540 (5th Cir. 1997) Findings of prejudice vel non: clearly erroneous United States v. Parks, 68 F.3d 860, 868 (5th Cir. 1995); United States v. Beszborn, 21 F.3d 62, 66 (5th Cir. 1994)PRESENCE: District courts finding that a defendant is voluntarily absent from her trial: clear error Decision to proceed without a voluntarily absent defendant: abuse of discretion United States v. Davis, 61 F.3d 291, 302 (5th Cir. 1995) (citations omitted)PRESENTENCE REPORT: Decision to publicly disclose presentence report: abuse of discretion United States v. Huckaby, 43 F.3d 135, 138 (5th Cir. 1995)PRO SE REPRESENTATION: Whether a defendant knowingly and voluntarily waived the right to counsel and elected to proceed pro se is a mixed question of law and fact that is reviewed de novo. Crandell v. Brunnell, 25 F.3d 754, 754 (9th Cir. 1994).PROBATION: 42
  43. 43. Revocation of probation: abuse of discretion United States v. King, 990 F.2d 190, 193 (5th Cir. 1993); United States v. Fryar, 920 F.2d 252, 258 (5th Cir. 1990)PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT: Improper remarks in closing argument: court reviews allegedly improper prosecutorial remarks to determine whether they were both inappropriate and harmful. In order to constitute reversible error, the offending remarks must have affected the defendants substantial rights, and must have contributed to the guilty verdict. United States v. Lowenberg, 853 F.2d 295, 301 (5th Cir. 1988) GRIFFIN error (comment on defendants failure to testify): de novo “We review de novo whether a prosecutor’s argument is an impermissible comment on the defendant’s right not to testify.” United States v. Morrow, 177 F.3d 272, 299 (5th Cir. 1999) (citation omitted) Improper remarks: “In reviewing a claim of prosecutorial misconduct, this Court applies a two-step analysis. We must first decide whether or not the prosecutor ‘made an improper remark.’ In determining whether a prosecutor’s comment was improper, it is necessary to look at the comment in context. If an improper remark was made, we must then determine whether the remark ‘prejudiced the defendant’s substantive rights.’ The prejudice determination involves ‘(1) the magnitude of the statement’s prejudice, (2) the effect of any cautionary instructions given, and (3) the strength of the evidence of the defendant’s guilt.’ ‘The determinative question is whether the prosecutor’s remarks cast serious doubt on the correctness of the jury’s verdict.’” United States v. Insaulgarat, 378 F.3d 456, 461 (5th Cir. 2004) (citations omitted) Interference with attorney-client relationship: decision to dismiss on this basis reviewed de novo 43
  44. 44. United States v. Johnson, 68 F.3d 899, 902 & n.1 (5th Cir. 1995), citing United States v. Graves, 556 F.2d 1319, 1322 (5th Cir. 1977) Substantial interference with defense witnesses: clearly erroneous United States v. Scroggins, 379 F.3d 233, 240 (5th Cir. 2004) Use of perjured testimony (violation of Napue v. Illinois): Underlying facts: abuse of discretion Conclusions to be drawn from those facts: de novo United States v. O’Keefe, 128 F.3d 885, 893-94 (5th Cir.1997) Prosecutorial vindictiveness: See VINDICTIVE PROSECUTIONPUBLICITY: Denial of evidentiary hearing on pretrial publicity: abuse of discretion United States v. Smith-Bowman, 76 F.3d 634, 637 (5th Cir. 1996) Whether publicity during trial requires mistrial: abuse of discretion United States v. Bass, 10 F.3d 256, 259 (5th Cir. 1993) Denial of request for voir dire on midtrial publicity: abuse of discretion United States v. Faulkner, 17 F.3d 745, 763 (5th Cir. 1994)RECUSAL: District judges decision to recuse him- or herself from case: abuse of discretion United States v. Okoronkwo, 46 F.3d 426. 437 (5th Cir. 1995), citing United States v. MMR Corp., 954 F.3d 1040, 1044 (5th Cir. 1992) District judges failure to recuse him- or herself from case on proper motion: abuse of discretion United States v. Bremers, 195 F.3d 221, 226 (5th Cir. 1999), citing United States v. Anderson, 160 F.3d 231, 233 (5th Cir. 1998); United States v. Jordan, 49 F.3d 44
  45. 45. 152, 156 & 158 (5th Cir. 1995)REDUCTION OF SENTENCE: Motion to reduce sentence (pre-Guidelines version of Rule 35): gross abuse of discretion United States v. Sinclair, 1 F.3d 329, 330 (5th Cir. 1993) (per curiam) 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) (retroactive reduced Guidelines range): Decision whether to reduce sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) for retroactive Guidelines amendments: abuse of discretion United States v. Mueller, 168 F.3d 186, 188 (5th Cir. 1999), citing United States v. Townsend, 55 F.3d 168, 170 (5th Cir. 1995); United States v. Levay, 76 F.3d 671, 673 (5th Cir.1996), citing United States v. Townsend, 55 F.3d 168 (5th Cir. 1995); United States v. Whitebird, 55 F.3d 1007, 1009 (5th Cir. 1995), citing United States v. Pardue, 36 F.3d 429, 430 (5th Cir. 1994) (per curiam) Findings of fact on a § 3582(c)(2) motion: clearly erroneous United States v. Levay, 76 F.3d 671, 673 (5th Cir.1996), citing United States v. Mimms, 43 F.3d 217, 220 (5th Cir. 1995)REMOVAL: Constitutional challenge to prior removal under United States v. Mendoza-Lopez: de novo United States v. Lopez-Vasquez, 227 F.3d 476, 481 (5th Cir. 2000) (citation omitted)REOPENING PROCEEDINGS: Denial of motion to reopen: abuse of discretion United States v. Parker, 73 F.3d 48, 53 (5th Cir. 1996) (citing United States v. Walker, 772 F.2d 1172, 1177 (5th Cir. 1985)), reinstated in relevant part on reh’g en banc, 104 F.3d 72 (5th Cir. 1997) (en banc) (trial) 45
  46. 46. United States v. Hassan, 83 F.3d 693, 696 (5th Cir.1996); United States v. Hobbs, 31 F.3d 918, 923 (9th Cir. 1994) (suppression hearing) United States v. Kubosh, 63 F.3d 404, 406 (5th Cir. 1995), cert. granted and judgment vacated on other grounds, 516 U.S. 1143 (1996), reinstated in relevant part on remand, 120 F.3d 47 (5th Cir. 1997) (sentencing; statutory penalty enhancement proceeding under 21 U.S.C. § 851)RESENTENCING -- See subheading of same name under SENTENCINGRESTITUTION: Generally: “Restitution, a criminal penalty, is reviewed de novo.” United States v. Tencer, 107 F.3d 1120, 1135 (5th Cir. 1997), citing United States v. Hayes, 32 F.3d 171, 172 (5th Cir. 1994) Legality of restitution order: de novo United States v. Adams, 363 F.3d 363, 365 (5th Cir. 2004) (MVRA); United States v. Mancillas, 172 F.3d 341, 342 (5th Cir. 1999) (“We review the legality of a restitution order de novo.”) (citing United States v. Chaney, 964 F.2d 437, 451 (5th Cir. 1992)) If sentence is legal, award of restitution reviewed for: abuse of discretion United States v. Adams, 363 F.3d 363, 365 (5th Cir. 2004) (MVRA); United States v. Reese, 998 F.2d 1275, 1280 (5th Cir. 1993) (VWPA); United States v. Chaney, 964 F.2d 437, 451-52 (5th Cir. 1992)) (VWPA) Sentencing courts compliance with the statutory requirements of the Victim and Witness Protection Act (VWPA): abuse of discretion. United States v. Reese, 998 F.2d 1275, 1281 (5th Cir. 1993); United States v. Barndt, 913 F.2d 201 (5th Cir. 1990) Propriety of restitution payment schedule: abuse of discretion United States v. Caldwell, 302 F.3d 399, 419 (5th Cir. 2002), citing United States 46
  47. 47. v. Hughey, 147 F.3d 423, 436 (5th Cir. 1998) Whether a person or entity is a “victim” under the VWPA: de novo United States v. Caldwell, 302 F.3d 399, 419 (5th Cir. 2002), citing United States v. Mancillas, 172 F.3d 341, 342 (5th Cir. 1999)RETURN OF PROPERTY (FED. R. CRIM. P. 41(e)): District court’s factual determination of lawful possession, or ownership: clearly erroneous District court’s interpretation of Rule 41(e): de novo United States v. Dean, 100 F.3d 19, 20 (5th Cir. 1996) (citations omitted)REVOCATION PROCEEDINGS -- See PROBATION and SUPERVISED RELEASERULE 32 -- See topic subheading of same name under SENTENCING, infraRULE 35: Motion to correct sentence (pre-Guidelines version of Rule 35): gross abuse of discretion. United States v. Martinez, 19 F.3d 910, 911 (5th Cir. 1994), citing United States v. Hanyard, 762 F.2d 1226, 1228 (5th Cir. 1985) Motion to reduce sentence (pre-Guidelines version of Rule 35): gross abuse of discretion United States v. Sinclair, 1 F.3d 329, 330 (5th Cir. 1993) (per curiam)RULE 43: Whether Rule 43 requires defendant’s presence at midtrial voir dire of jury on alleged jury tampering incident: de novo United States v. Lampton, 158 F.3d 251, 257 (5th Cir. 1998) (citation omitted)"SAFETY VALVE": See subheading of same name under SENTENCING 47
  48. 48. SANCTIONS: Whether an attorney’s conduct is subject to sanction: de novo A district court’s imposition of a particular sanction: abuse of discretion In re Sealed Appellant, 194 F.3d 666, 670 (5th Cir. 1999), citing United States v. Brown, 72 F.3d 25 (5th Cir. 1995) HOWEVER: “That discretion is abused if the ruling is based on ‘an erroneous view of the law or on a clearly erroneous assessment of the evidence.’” United States v. Brown, 72 F.3d 25, 28 (5th Cir. 1995), citing Chaves v. M/V Medina Star, 47 F.3d 153, 156 (5th Cir. 1995)SEARCH AND SEIZURE: See also WARRANTS General: Factual findings are reviewed under the clearly erroneous standard, and the district courts conclusions of law on legal questions are reviewed de novo. United States v. Richard, 994 F.2d 244, 247 (5th Cir. 1993) (citation omitted) Determination whether a person is acting as an agent for the government: factual finding subject to clearly erroneous review United States v. Blocker, 104 F.3d 720, 725 (5th Cir. 1997), citing United States v. Jenkins, 46 F.3d 447, 480 (5th Cir. 1995) Chimel [v. California] determinations of immediate control (whether an item is within the "immediate control" of an arrestee for purposes of search pursuant to arrest): de novo United States v. Johnson, 18 F.3d 293, 294 (5th Cir. 1994), granting rehg in part to and clarifying 16 F.3d 69 (5th Cir. 1994) Consent: District courts ultimate determination of consent: clearly erroneous United States v. Wilson, 36 F.3d 1298, 1304 (5th Cir. 1994), citing United States v. Ponce, 8 F.3d 989, 997 (5th Cir. 1993) Scope of consent: de novo 48
  49. 49. United States v. McSween, 53 F.3d 684, 687 n.4 (5th Cir. 1995), citing United States v. Rich, 992 F.2d 502, 505 (5th Cir. 1993) Voluntariness of consent to search: clearly erroneous United States v. Tompkins, 130 F.3d 117, 120 (5th Cir. 1997) (footnote with citations omitted); United States v. Brown, 102 F.3d 1390, 1394 (5th Cir. 1996), citing United States v. Zucco, 71 F.3d 188, 191 (5th Cir. 1995) BUT SEE United States v. Asibor, 109 F.3d 1023, 1038 (5th Cir. 1997) (“We review de novo the voluntariness of consent to a search.”)Exigent circumstances: Factual findings regarding presence of exigent circumstances: clearly erroneous United States v. Blount, 123 F.3d 831, 837 (5th Cir. 1997) (en banc); United States v. Reed, 26 F.3d 523, 528 (5th Cir. 1994) See also United States v. Troop, 514 F.3d 405, 409 (5th Cir. 2008); United States v. Howard, 106 F.3d 70, 74 (5th Cir. 1997) (“Whether exigent circumstances exist is a question of fact, reversible only if the district court’s factual findings are clearly erroneous.”) (citation omitted); United States v. Rodea, 102 F.3d 1401, 1404 (5th Cir. 1996) (“Exigent circumstances vel non is a factual finding reviewed for clear error.”) (citation omitted) Manufactured exigency: Whether law enforcement officers engaged in unreasonable investigative tactics, thus manufacturing exigent circumstances: de novo United States v. Rodea, 102 F.3d 1401, 1404 (5th Cir. 1996)Denial of Franks v. Delaware evidentiary hearing: de novo United States v. Dickey, 102 F.3d 157, 162 (5th Cir. 1996), citing United States v. Mueller, 902 F.2d 336, 341 (5th Cir. 1990)Whether good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule applies: de novo United States v. Marmolejo, 89 F.3d 1185, 1198 (5th Cir. 1996) (citing United States v. Satterwhite, 981 F.2d 317, 321 (5th Cir. 1992)), aff’d sub nom. Salinas 49
  50. 50. v. United States, 522 U.S. 52 (1997)Independent source doctrine: two part analysis (1) Does the warrant affidavit, when purged of tainted information gained through an initial illegal search, contain sufficient remaining facts to constitute probable cause? (“Probable cause”) (Reviewed de novo) (2) Did the illegal search affect or motivate the officers’ decision to procure the effect of the search warrant? (“Effect of the illegal entry”) (Factual determination reviewed under clearly erroneous standard) United States v. Hassan, 83 F.3d 693, 697 (5th Cir. 1996) (citations omitted)Whether search is a valid inventory search: de novo United States v. Como, 53 F.3d 87, 91 (5th Cir. 1995), quoting and citing United States v. Gallo, 927 F.2d 815, 819 (5th Cir. 1991)Reasonableness of investigatory stop/frisk: de novo United States v. Jordan, 232 F.3d 447, 448 (5th Cir. 2000), citing United States v. Campbell, 178 F.3d 345, 348 (5th Cir. 1999)Ultimate conclusion that probable cause exists/ does not exist: de novo Ornelas v. United States, 517 U.S. 690, 699 (1996); United States v. Chappell, 6 F.3d 1095, 1100 (5th Cir. 1993) (citation omitted) BUT: Factual findings supporting probable cause determination: clearly erroneous United States v. Ho, 94 F.3d 932, 935 (5th Cir. 1996), citing United States v. Wadley, 59 F.3d 510, 512 (5th Cir. 1995) Determination of probable cause after purging of unconstitutionally obtained information from warrant: de novo United States v. Blount, 98 F.3d 1489, 1495 (5th Cir. 1996) (footnote with citations omitted), on reh’g en banc, 123 F.3d 831 (5th Cir. 1997) (en banc) 50

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