783 F.3d 556 (5th Cir. 2015), 13-31265, United States v. Hollingsworth

Docket Nº:13-31265
Citation:783 F.3d 556
Opinion Judge:EDITH BROWN CLEMENT, Circuit Judge:
Party Name:UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee v. DAVID W. HOLLINGSWORTH, Defendant - Appellant
Attorney:For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Edward John Rivera, Esq., Assistant U.S. Attorney, Kevin G. Boitmann, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Diane Hollenshead Copes, Esq., Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA. For David W. Hollingsw...
Judge Panel:Before HIGGINBOTHAM, CLEMENT, and HIGGINSON, Circuit Judges. PATRICK E. HIGGINBOTHAM, Circuit Judge, concurring. STEPHEN A. HIGGINSON, Circuit Judge, dissenting. CONCUR BY: PATRICK E. HIGGINBOTHAM PATRICK E. HIGGINBOTHAM, Circuit Judge, concurring: STEPHEN A. HIGGINSON, Circuit Judge, dissenting:
Case Date:April 14, 2015
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
 
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783 F.3d 556 (5th Cir. 2015)

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee

v.

DAVID W. HOLLINGSWORTH, Defendant - Appellant

No. 13-31265

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

April 14, 2015

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Edward John Rivera, Esq., Assistant U.S. Attorney, Kevin G. Boitmann, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Diane Hollenshead Copes, Esq., Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA.

For David W. Hollingsworth, Defendant - Appellant: Jordan Mark Siverd, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Federal Public Defender's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA.

Before HIGGINBOTHAM, CLEMENT, and HIGGINSON, Circuit Judges. PATRICK E. HIGGINBOTHAM, Circuit Judge, concurring. STEPHEN A. HIGGINSON, Circuit Judge, dissenting.

OPINION

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EDITH BROWN CLEMENT, Circuit Judge:

A federal magistrate judge tried defendant-appellant David W. Hollingsworth (" Hollingsworth" ) for a petty offense committed on a federal enclave.1 The magistrate judge conducted a bench trial, entered

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a verdict of guilty, and sentenced Hollingsworth to six months in federal prison. Hollingsworth appealed to the federal district court.2 The district court affirmed the judgment and sentence entered by the magistrate judge.3 Hollingsworth now appeals to this court.4 For the reasons explained below, we AFFIRM the judgment of the district court.

Facts and Proceedings

Hollingsworth was charged with violating 18 U.S.C. § 113(a)(5), a petty offense,5 at the Naval Air Station Joint Reverse Base New Orleans, a military base located in Belle Chasse, Louisiana (" Belle Chasse" ). It is uncontested that Belle Chasse is a federal enclave under U.S. Const. Art. I, § 8, cl. 17 (" Clause 17" ),6 and § 113 is effective on such enclaves. See 18 U.S.C. § 113(a) (providing that law applies " within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States" ). Hollingsworth objected to trial before the federal magistrate judge, but the magistrate judge held that she had jurisdiction to try Hollingsworth without his consent. Hollingsworth appealed his conviction to the district court, arguing that he had a right to a jury trial. The district court affirmed the conviction and sentence entered by the magistrate judge.

Standard of Review

We apply the same standard of review used by the district court. Peck, 545 F.2d at 964 (" In our review we apply to the magistrate the same standard used by the district court." ). Thus we review the magistrate judge's findings of fact for clear error and conclusions of law de novo. Compare Fed. R. Crim. P. 58(g)(2)(D) (providing that district court's review of magistrate judge's judgment " is the same as in an appeal to the court of appeals from a judgment entered by a district judge" ), with Mid-Continent Cas. Co. v. Davis, 683 F.3d 651, 654 (5th Cir. 2012) (" In an appeal from a district court's final judgment following a bench trial, we review the district court's findings of fact for clear error and review conclusions of law de novo." ).

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Discussion

I.

A.

Hollingsworth now argues for the first time that he has a constitutional right to trial before an Art. III judge.7 The Government argues that, because Belle Chasse is a federal enclave, Hollingsworth does not have a right to trial before an Art. III judge.

In Palmore v. United States, 411 U.S. 389, 93 S.Ct. 1670, 36 L.Ed.2d 342 (1973), the Supreme Court held that " Congress [is] not required to provide an Art. III court for the trial of criminal cases arising under its laws applicable only within the District of Columbia." Id. at 410.8 Hollingsworth was tried for the violation of a federal criminal statute that applies only " within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States." 18 U.S.C. § 113(a)(5). Thus under Palmore, Hollingsworth has no constitutional right to trial before an Art. III court. See Jenkins, 734 F.2d at 1326 (holding that " the requirements of Article III are consistent with the establishment by Congress of non-Article III courts to enforce federal criminal laws" in Clause 17 federal enclaves).

Hollingsworth also argues that, even if Congress could refer his trial to an Article I court under Clause 17, the magistrate judge who heard his case is not a member of such a court. But Congress " exercise[s] within [federal enclaves] all legislative powers that the legislature of a state might exercise within the State, and may vest and distribute the judicial authority in and among courts and magistrates, and regulate judicial proceedings before them, as it may think fit, so long as it does not contravene any provision of the constitution of the United States." Palmore, 411 U.S. at 397 (quoting Capital Traction Co. v. Hof, 174 U.S. 1, 5, 19 S.Ct. 580, 43 L.Ed. 873 (1899)). Hollingsworth fails to cite any constitutional provision that Congress violated when it referred his trial to a federal magistrate judge. Indeed, the particular facts of Hollingsworth's case show that, as applied, Congress has not even entered the constitutional borderlands. Pursuant to Clause 17, Congress could have referred all trials for crimes committed at Belle Chasse to an Article I judge, including felony trials. See Palmore, 411 U.S. at 391 (explaining that Palmore was tried and found guilty of a felony in an Article I court). But Congress chose to refer only trials for petty offenses to federal magistrate judges. Moreover, it is not clear

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that Hollingsworth has a constitutional right to appeal to an Art. III court, yet Congress granted him the right to appeal to not one but two Art. III courts.

We hold that Hollingsworth did not have a right to trial before an Art. III judge, and that his trial, conviction, and sentence before a federal magistrate judge was constitutional. Because we are bound " never to anticipate a question of constitutional law in advance of the necessity of deciding it," United States v. Raines, 362 U.S. 17, 21, 80 S.Ct. 519, 4 L.Ed.2d 524 (1960), our holding applies only to defendants tried for petty offenses committed on federal enclaves obtained by Congress pursuant to Clause 17.9

B.

In response to the dissent, we begin by noting a historical fact that the dissent passes over. From 1894 until 1948, Congress referred trials for misdemeanors committed on certain federal lands to the federal magistracy.10 The statutes referring

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such trials did not require the defendant's consent as a prerequisite to the magistrate's jurisdiction. See statutes cited supra note 10. This fact is relevant for two reasons. First, it shows that the dissent is wrong to claim that the federal magistracy has always been an " adjunct body," " statutorily, historically, and doctrinally" (footnotes omitted). Second, the Supreme Court's non-delegation caselaw requires us to consider historical context and practice when construing the " literal command of Art. III." N. Pipeline Constr. Co. v. Marathon Pipe Line Co., 458 U.S. 50, 64, 102 S.Ct. 2858, 73 L.Ed.2d 598 (1982) (plurality opinion); see also NLRB v. Canning, 134 S.Ct. 2550, 2560, 189 L.Ed.2d 538 (2014) (holding that historical practice is important when courts interpret the Constitution, " even when the nature or longevity of that practice is subject to dispute, and even when that practice began after the founding era" ). We have not found evidence that a defendant tried under the statutes referring misdemeanor trials to commissioners ever challenged the constitutionality of the delegation. Indeed, in the only case we have identified addressing a commissioner's jurisdiction to hear a misdemeanor case under such a statute, neither the defendant nor the court saw fit to even raise the issue. See Rider v. United States, 149 F. 164, 166-67, 170 (8th Cir. 1906) (vacating defendant's misdemeanor conviction because he was tried before general commissioner, instead of commissioner specifically appointed to hear cases arising on federal land, as envisioned in statute). The fact that these statutes survived unchallenged for more than half a century ought to inform our constitutional analysis.

We also disagree with the dissent on two theoretical issues. First, the dissent insists that this case involves Art. III " federal judicial power" and proceeds as if this distinction carries the day. The Supreme Court once " suggested a rigid distinction between those subjects that could be considered only in Art. III courts and those that could be considered only in legislative courts." Marathon, 458 U.S. at 63 n.14 (plurality opinion). But the Court's " more recent cases clearly recognize that legislative courts may be granted jurisdiction over some cases and controversies to which the Art. III judicial power might also be extended." Id.; see also id. at 113 (White, J., dissenting) (stating that " [t]here is no difference in principle between the work that Congress may assign to an Art. I court and that which the Constitution assigns to Art. III courts" ); Palmore, 411 U.S. at 402 (explaining that " the enforcement of federal criminal law" has never " been deemed the exclusive province of federal Art. III courts" ). By relying on the outdated notion that federal judicial power can never be assigned to legislative courts, the dissent's reasoning is wrong from the start.

Instead of asking whether this case involves " federal judicial power," the Supreme Court's caselaw makes clear that we should ask a simpler question: whether the case arose in a " geographical area[ ], in which no State operate[s] as sovereign." Marathon, 458 U.S. at 64...

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