Eberhart v. U.S., No. 04-9949.

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtPer Curiam
Citation126 S. Ct. 403,163 L. Ed. 2d 14,546 U.S. 12
PartiesEBERHART <I>v.</I> UNITED STATES.
Docket NumberNo. 04-9949.
Decision Date31 October 2005
546 U.S. 12
126 S. Ct. 403
163 L. Ed. 2d 14
EBERHART
v.
UNITED STATES.
No. 04-9949.
Supreme Court of United States.
Decided October 31, 2005.

On the last day available for post-trial motions after petitioner's conviction for conspiring to distribute cocaine, he moved for, inter alia, a new trial, raising a single ground for relief. Nearly six months later, he raised two additional grounds in a "supplemental memorandum." The District Court cited all three grounds in granting his motion. On appeal, the Government argued, for the first time, that the District Court had abused its discretion because Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 33(b)(2) provides that any new trial motion "grounded on any reason other than newly discovered evidence must be filed within 7 days after the verdict or finding of guilty," and Rule 45(b)(2) provides that courts "may not extend" that time "except as stated" in Rule 33 itself. The Seventh Circuit reversed, finding that the District Court had lacked jurisdiction to grant a new trial. It relied on United States v. Robinson, 361 U.S. 220, and United States v. Smith, 331 U.S. 469, but expressed some misgiving that those cases had been undermined by Kontrick v. Ryan, 540 U.S. 443, in which this Court construed Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure paralleling Rules 33 and 45 to be nonjurisdictional claim-processing rules that may be forfeited if not properly raised.

Held: Because the time prescriptions in Rules 33 and 45 are nonjurisdictional, claim-processing rules, the Government forfeited its untimeliness defense by failing to raise it until after the District Court had reached the merits. It is implausible that the Bankruptcy Rules construed in Kontrick can be claim-processing rules, while virtually identical Rules of Criminal Procedure can deprive federal courts of subject-matter jurisdiction. Nothing in Rules 33 and 45 or in this Court's cases requires such a dissonance. This result does not require the Court to overrule Robinson or Smith, which did not address the effect of untimely arguments in support of a motion for new trial when, as here, the district court is still considering post-trial motions and the case has not yet been appealed. Although its disposition was in error, the Seventh Circuit was prudent in adhering to its understanding of precedent while expressing grave doubts in light of Kontrick.

Certiorari granted; 388 F.3d 1043, reversed and remanded.

[546 U.S. 13]

ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SEVENTH CIRCUIT.

PER CURIAM.


Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 33(a) allows a district court to "vacate any judgment and grant a new trial if the interest of justice so requires." But "[a]ny motion for a new trial grounded on any reason other than newly discovered evidence must be filed within 7 days after the verdict or finding of guilty, or within such further time as the court sets during the 7-day period." Rule 33(b)(2). This deadline is rigid. The Rules provide that courts "may not extend the time to take any action under [Rule 33], except as stated" in Rule 33 itself. Rule 45(b)(2). The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has construed Rule 33's time limitations as "jurisdictional," permitting the Government to raise non-compliance with those limitations for the first time on appeal. 388 F.3d 1043, 1049 (2004). However, there is "a critical difference between a rule governing subject-matter jurisdiction and an inflexible claim-processing rule." Kontrick v. Ryan, 540 U.S. 443, 456 (2004). Rule 33 is an example of the latter. We grant the petition for certiorari and the motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, and reverse the judgment of the Seventh Circuit.

I

Petitioner Ivan Eberhart was convicted of one count of conspiring to distribute cocaine. On the last day available for post-trial motions, he moved for judgment of acquittal or, in the alternative, for a new trial. That motion raised a single ground for relief—an alleged flaw in a transcript that had been published to the jury. Nearly six months later, petitioner filed a "supplemental memorandum" supporting his motion. Two additional grounds appeared in that filing—admission of potential hearsay testimony into evidence, and the District Court's failure to give a so-called "buyerseller instruction" to the jury. 388 F.3d, at 1047-1048. Rather than arguing, however, that the untimeliness of the supplemental memorandum barred the District Court from

546 U.S. 14

considering the issues it raised, the Government opposed it on the merits.

The District Court granted the motion for a new trial, citing all three grounds raised by petitioner. The judge concluded that "`none of these concerns standing alone or in pairing would cause me to grant a new trial,'" but that taken together, they "`persuade me that the interests of justice require a new trial.'" Id., at 1048. The judge also predicted that "`a new trial will quite likely lead to another conviction.'" Ibid.

On appeal, the Government pointed to the untimeliness of petitioner's supplemental memorandum, and argued that the District Court had abused its discretion in granting a new trial based on the arguments that the memorandum had raised. The Court of Appeals reversed the grant of a new trial, finding that the District Court had lacked jurisdiction to grant one. The Seventh Circuit observed: "The Supreme Court has held that Rule 45(b)'s prohibition on extensions of time is `mandatory and jurisdictional.'" Id., at 1049 (quoting United States v. Robinson, 361 U.S. 220, 229 (1960), and citing United States v. Smith, 331 U.S. 469, 474, n. 2 (1947)). Based on Robinson and Smith, the Seventh Circuit explained, "`[w]e have previously emphasized that [Rule 33's] 7-day period is jurisdictional, and that the court is without jurisdiction to consider even an amendment to a timely new trial motion if it is filed outside the seven day period, absent a timely extension by the court or new evidence.'" 388 F.3d, at 1049 (quoting United States v. Washington, 184 F.3d 653, 659 (CA7 1999)).

The Court of Appeals did, however, express some misgiving. After describing the holding of Kontrick, it commented that "[t]he reasoning of Kontrick may suggest that Rule 33's time limits are merely inflexible claim-processing rules that could be forfeited if not timely asserted." 388 F.3d, at 1049. It concluded, however, that even if Kontrick had undermined Robinson and Smith, "we are bound to follow

546 U.S. 15

them until expressly overruled by the Supreme Court." 388 F.3d, at 1049 (citing Agostini v. Felton, 521 U.S. 203, 237 (1997)).

II

In Kontric...

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719 practice notes
  • Dolan v. US, No. 09-367.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 20 Abril 2010
    ...at 454-456, 124 S.Ct. 906 (60-day bankruptcy rule deadline for creditor's objection to debtor discharge); Eberhart v. United States, 546 U.S. 12, 19, 126 S.Ct. 403, 163 L.Ed.2d 14 (2005) (per curiam) (7-day criminal rule deadline for filing motion for a new In still other instances, we have......
  • United States v. Lacerda, No. 15-2812
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • 5 Mayo 2020
    ...raises the failure to timely file the notice, our duty to dismiss the appeal is also mandatory, id . (citing Eberhart v. United States , 546 U.S. 12, 15, 19, 126 S.Ct. 403, 163 L.Ed.2d 14 (2005) ).Resnick did not file a timely notice of appeal from the order of restitution, and the governme......
  • U.S. v. Caruthers, No. 05-5307.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • 11 Agosto 2006
    ...See Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp., ___ U.S. ___, 126 S.Ct. 1235, 163 L.Ed.2d 1097 (2006); Eberhart v. United States, ___ U.S. ___, 126 S.Ct. 403, 163 L.Ed.2d 14 (2005) (per curiam); Scarborough v. Principi, 541 U.S. 401, 413-14, 124 S.Ct. 1856, 158 L.Ed.2d 674 (2004); Kontrick v. Ryan, 540 U.S. 443,......
  • United States ex rel. Antoon v. Cleveland Clinic Found., No. 13–4348.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Sixth Circuit
    • 11 Junio 2015
    ...and the persons (personal jurisdiction) falling within a court's adjudicatory authority.’ ” (quoting Eberhart v. United States, 546 U.S. 12, 16, 126 S.Ct. 403, 163 L.Ed.2d 14 (2005) (per curiam), and citing Kontrick v. Ryan, 540 U.S. 443, 453, 124 S.Ct. 906, 157 L.Ed.2d 867 (2004) )). Howev......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
722 cases
  • Dolan v. US, No. 09-367.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 20 Abril 2010
    ...at 454-456, 124 S.Ct. 906 (60-day bankruptcy rule deadline for creditor's objection to debtor discharge); Eberhart v. United States, 546 U.S. 12, 19, 126 S.Ct. 403, 163 L.Ed.2d 14 (2005) (per curiam) (7-day criminal rule deadline for filing motion for a new In still other instances, we have......
  • United States v. Lacerda, No. 15-2812
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • 5 Mayo 2020
    ...raises the failure to timely file the notice, our duty to dismiss the appeal is also mandatory, id . (citing Eberhart v. United States , 546 U.S. 12, 15, 19, 126 S.Ct. 403, 163 L.Ed.2d 14 (2005) ).Resnick did not file a timely notice of appeal from the order of restitution, and the governme......
  • U.S. v. Caruthers, No. 05-5307.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • 11 Agosto 2006
    ...See Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp., ___ U.S. ___, 126 S.Ct. 1235, 163 L.Ed.2d 1097 (2006); Eberhart v. United States, ___ U.S. ___, 126 S.Ct. 403, 163 L.Ed.2d 14 (2005) (per curiam); Scarborough v. Principi, 541 U.S. 401, 413-14, 124 S.Ct. 1856, 158 L.Ed.2d 674 (2004); Kontrick v. Ryan, 540 U.S. 443,......
  • United States ex rel. Antoon v. Cleveland Clinic Found., No. 13–4348.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Sixth Circuit
    • 11 Junio 2015
    ...and the persons (personal jurisdiction) falling within a court's adjudicatory authority.’ ” (quoting Eberhart v. United States, 546 U.S. 12, 16, 126 S.Ct. 403, 163 L.Ed.2d 14 (2005) (per curiam), and citing Kontrick v. Ryan, 540 U.S. 443, 453, 124 S.Ct. 906, 157 L.Ed.2d 867 (2004) )). Howev......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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