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October 16, 2008

Notable appeal waiver ruling from the Third Circuit

The Third Circuit today issued a long opinion addressing the enforceability of an appeal waiver in US v. Goodson, No. 06-4895 (3d Cir. Oct. 16, 2008) (available here). Here is how the opinion begins:

Daniel J. Goodson appeals from the sentence imposed by the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, challenging a condition of supervised release requiring Goodson to consent to a search of his place of business. The government asserts that we are precluded from reviewing this issue because Goodson, pursuant to a plea agreement, waived his right to file a direct appeal under 18 U.S.C. § 3742(a).  In his reply brief, Goodson acknowledges for the first time the existence of an appellate waiver.  He contends, however, that the waiver does not preclude this particular appeal and that, in any event, the waiver is invalid because it was unknowing and involuntary.

We must determine whether Goodson’s failure to address the applicability of the appellate waiver in his opening brief effectively foreclosed him from subsequently challenging in his reply brief the enforceability of the appellate waiver.  We hold that it does not.  Nonetheless, we will enforce the appellate waiver and will affirm the judgment of the District Court.

October 16, 2008 at 12:45 PM | Permalink


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