Manrique v. United States,
581 U.S. ___ (2017)

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Justia Opinion Summary

After agents found child pornography on petitioner’s computer, he pleaded guilty to possessing a visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct (18 U.S.C. 2252(a)(4)(B) and (b)(2)), an offense requiring restitution to the victim. The district court imposed a prison sentence and acknowledged that restitution was mandatory but deferred determination of the amount. Petitioner filed a notice of appeal. Months later, the court entered an amended judgment, ordering petitioner to pay restitution to one victim. Petitioner did not file a second notice of appeal, but challenged the restitution amount before the Eleventh Circuit, which held that he had forfeited any such challenge. The Supreme Court affirmed. A defendant wishing to appeal an order imposing restitution in a deferred restitution case must file a notice of appeal from that order. If he fails to do so and the government objects, he may not challenge the restitution order on appeal. Both 18 U.S.C. 3742(a), governing criminal appeals, and Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 3(a)(1) contemplate that a defendant will file a notice of appeal after the court has decided the issue sought to be appealed. The requirement is a mandatory claim-processing rule, which is “unalterable” if raised properly by the party asserting its violation. Deferred restitution cases involve two appealable judgments, not one; the notice of appeal did not “spring forward” to become effective on the date the court entered its amended restitution judgment. Even if the court’s acknowledgment in the initial judgment that restitution was mandatory could qualify as a “sentence” that the court “announced” under Rule 4(b)(2), petitioner has never disputed that restitution is mandatory. A court of appeals may not overlook the failure to file a notice of appeal.

  • Syllabus  | 
  • Opinion (Clarence Thomas)  | 
  • Dissent (Ruth Bader Ginsburg)

NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued.The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader.See United States v. Detroit Timber & Lumber Co., 200 U. S. 321 .

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

Syllabus

MANRIQUE v. UNITED STATES

certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the eleventh circuit

No. 15–7250. Argued October 11, 2016—Decided April 19, 2017

After federal agents found child pornography on petitioner’s computer, he pleaded guilty to possessing a visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct, in violation of 18 U. S. C. §§2252(a)(4)(B) and (b)(2), an offense requiring a district court to “make restitution to the victim of the offense,” §3663A(a)(1). The District Court entered an initial judgment sentencing petitioner to a term of imprisonment. It also acknowledged that restitution was mandatory but deferred determination of the restitution amount. Petitioner filed a notice of appeal from this initial judgment. Months later, the District Court entered an amended judgment, ordering petitioner to pay restitution to one of his victims. Petitioner did not file a second notice of appeal from the amended judgment. When he nonetheless challenged the restitution amount before the Eleventh Circuit, the Government argued that he had forfeited his right to do so by failing to file a second notice of appeal. The Eleventh Circuit agreed, holding that petitioner could not challenge the restitution amount.

Held: A defendant wishing to appeal an order imposing restitution in a deferred restitution case must file a notice of appeal from that order. If he fails to do so and the Government objects, he may not challenge the restitution order on appeal. Pp. 3–9.

(a) Both 18 U. S. C. §3742(a), which governs criminal appeals, and Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 3(a)(1) contemplate that a defendant will file a notice of appeal after the district court has decided the issue sought to be appealed. Here, petitioner filed only one notice of appeal, which preceded by many months the sentence and judgment imposing restitution. He therefore failed to properly appeal the amended judgment. Whether or not the requirement that a defendant file a timely notice of appeal from an amended judgment imposing restitution is a jurisdictional prerequisite, it is at least a mandatory claim-processing rule, which is “unalterable” if raised properly by the party asserting a violation of the rule. Eberhart v. United States, 546 U. S. 12 . Because the Government timely raised the issue, “the court’s duty to dismiss the appeal was mandatory.” Id., at 18. Pp. 3–5.

(b) Petitioner’s argument that his single notice of appeal sufficed under the Federal Rules to appeal both judgments depends on two premises: First, in a deferred restitution case, there is only one “judgment,” as that term is used in Rules 4(b)(1) and (b)(2); and second, so long as a notice of appeal is filed after the initial judgment, it “springs forward” under Rule 4(b)(2) to appeal the amended judgment imposing restitution. Each premise is rejected. Pp. 5–7.

(1) This Court’s analysis in Dolan v. United States, 560 U. S. 605 , makes clear that deferred restitution cases involve two appealable judgments, not one. The Dolan Court did not decide the question presented here, but the Court was not persuaded by the argument that “a sentencing judgment is not ‘final’ until it contains a definitive determination of the amount of restitution.” Id., at 617–618. Instead, the Court recognized, “strong arguments” supported the proposition that both the initial judgment and the restitution order were each immediately appealable final judgments. Ibid. Pp. 5–6.

(2) Because petitioner’s notice of appeal was filed well before the District Court announced the sentence imposing restitution, the notice of appeal did not “spring forward” to become effective on the date the court entered its amended restitution judgment. By its own terms, Rule 4(b)(2) applies only to a notice of appeal filed after a sentence has been announced and before the judgment imposing the sentence is entered on the docket. Even if the District Court’s acknowledgment in the initial judgment that restitution was mandatory could qualify as a “sentence” that the District Court “announced” under Rule 4(b)(2), petitioner has never disputed that restitution is mandatory for his offense. Rather, he argued on appeal that the amount imposed is unlawful. Pp. 6–7.

(c) Petitioner’s alternative argument that any defect in his notice of appeal should be overlooked as harmless error is rejected. Lemke v. United States, 346 U. S. 325 , on which he relies, has been superseded by the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure in two ways. First, the Lemke petitioner’s notice of appeal would now be timely under Rule 4(b)(2). Petitioner in this case cannot take advantage of that Rule. Second, Rule 3(a)(2) now provides the consequences for litigant errors associated with filing a notice of appeal. The court of appeals may, in its discretion, overlook defects in a notice of appeal other than the failure to timely file a notice. It may not overlook the failure to file a notice of appeal at all. Pp. 8–9.

618 Fed. Appx. 579, affirmed.

Thomas, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Roberts, C. J., and Kennedy, Breyer, Alito, and Kagan, JJ., joined. Ginsburg, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Sotomayor, J., joined. Gorsuch, J., took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

Primary Holding

A defendant must file a notice of appeal directly from an order imposing restitution in a deferred restitution case, and a failure to do so will waive the right to appeal upon an objection by the government.

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