Arizona v. Manypenny
451 U.S. 232 (1981)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Arizona v. Manypenny, 451 U.S. 232 (1981)

Arizona v. Manypenny

No. 79-621

Argued November 10, 1980

Decided April 21, 1981

451 U.S. 232

Syllabus

Respondent was indicted in an Arizona state court for the commission of a state crime. Because the charge arose from an act committed while he was on duty as a federal Border Patrol Agent, respondent, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1442(a)(1), removed the case to Federal District Court. After a jury trial, a guilty verdict was returned, but ultimately the District Court sua sponte concluded that respondent had a valid immunity defense, and entered a judgment of acquittal. The State appealed, but the Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction, holding, inter alia, that a criminal proceeding removed to federal court under § 1442(a)(1) arises under federal law, and accordingly is controlled by that law. The court concluded that only Congress can authorize an appeal by a State in a § 1442(a)(1) criminal prosecution, and that it had not done so. The court rejected the suggestion that Arizona's appeal was authorized by 28 U.S.C. § 1291, which confers jurisdiction on United States courts of appeals over appeals from all final decisions of federal district courts, except where a direct review may be had in the Supreme Court.

Held : In a criminal proceeding removed to federal court under § 1442(a)(1), a State may appeal under § 1291 from an adverse judgment if statutory authority to seek such review is conferred by state law. Thus, because Arizona law conferred such authority here, and because removal does not alter the nature of the authority conferred, the State must be allowed to appeal from the post-guilty-verdict judgment of acquittal. Pp. 451 U. S. 239-250.

(a) Arizona statutes, as construed by Arizona courts, authorize the prosecution to seek review when it claims that the trial court has exceeded its jurisdiction or abused its discretion, as is the claim in this case. Pp. 451 U. S. 239-240.

(b) Respondent, by obtaining a federal forum, fully vindicated the federal policies supporting removal -- permitting a trial on the merits of the state law question free from local interests or prejudice and enabling the defendant to have the validity of his immunity defense adjudicated in a federal forum. No further purpose of the removal statute would be served by denying the State a right to seek review when that very

Page 451 U. S. 233

right is available under state law. On the contrary, it would be anomalous to conclude that the State's appellate rights were diminished solely because of the removal. Pp. 451 U. S. 241-243.

(c) This Court's prior decisions restricting the availability of § 1291 and its predecessors when the Government seeks to appeal in a criminal case flow from a tradition of requiring that a prosecutorial appeal be affirmatively sanctioned by the same sovereign that sponsors the prosecution. The intention to restrict sovereign power in this area is adequately addressed when the legislature responsible for that power has spoken in express terms, or when a legislative enactment has been authoritatively construed by the sovereign's highest court. Section 1291 neither compels nor forecloses appellate jurisdiction in an appeal taken by a State as prosecutor. Instead, the provision permits a State to appeal if it is authorized to do so by state law. Arizona can rely on § 1291 combined with appellate authorization from the Arizona Legislature. In the circumstances of this case, no more is required. Pp. 451 U. S. 244-249.

608 F.2d 1197, reversed and remanded.

BLACKMUN, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J., and STEWART, WHITE, POWELL, REHNQUIST, and STEVENS, JJ., joined. STEVENS, J., filed a concurring opinion, post, p. 451 U. S. 250. BRENNAN, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which MARSHALL, J., joined, post, p. 451 U. S. 251.

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