Supreme Court Rules that Appellants Must File A Separate Notice of Appeal from Deferred Restitution Judgments

Supreme Court - Law Offices of Hope C. Lefeber

The Supreme Court, by a 6-2 vote, held that a defendant who wishes to appeal an order imposing restitution in a deferred restitution case must file a separate notice of appeal from that order; if he/she fails to file such an appeal and the government objects, one may not challenge the restitution order on appeal. In Manrique v. United States, decided April 19, 2017, the petitioner, Marcelo Manrique challenged the U.S. government’s assertion that because he failed to file an amended judgment ordering a specific amount of restitution, he waived his right to appeal that judgment. Manrique argued that his initial and timely appeal of his criminal sentence, which had imposed an unspecified amount of restitution, should have encompassed the amended judgment containing the specified restitution award, and therefore, a secondary of the appeal of restitution should not be required under Federal Rules of Procedure. The Court, with Justice Clarence Thomas writing for the majority did not agree, siding with the government’s contention that the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure (specifically 18 U.S.C. §3742 and Rule 4) “contemplate that the defendant will file the notice of appeal after the district court has decided the issue sought to be appealed.” While the Court did not directly decide whether that rule is jurisdictional, Justice Thomas stated that the “requirement that a defendant file a timely notice of appeal from an amended judgment imposing restitution is at least a mandatory claim-processing rule.” The take-away from this case is that so long as the government timely objects to the absence of a second notice of appeal, regardless of whether a defendant previously filed an appeal from the original judgment of conviction and sentence, a defendant cannot appeal an amended judgment (i.e: the amount of restitution imposed). The only question the Court left open in its decision is whether a defendant’s failure to file such an appeal is a jurisdictional defect that cannot be waived by the government, or a mandatory claim-processing rule that can be waived.

Justice Ginsburg wrote a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Sotomayor joined. Newly sworn in Justice Gorsuch took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

Categories: Federal Law