United States v. Nickerson

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 10-01-2013
  • Case #: 12-10534
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Berzon for the Court; District Judge Zouhary and Circuit Judge Wallace
  • Full Text Opinion

In order to warrant the dismissal of Class B misdemeanor charges based on outrageous government conduct, there must be a nexus between the conduct and the criminal proceeding at issue; the Speedy Trial Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 3161(d)(2) and 3162, does not apply to Class B misdemeanors.

After being convicted of three Class B misdemeanors all resulting from driving under the influence of alcohol, Cassandra B. Nickerson appealed her convictions based on being unknowingly videotaped and the Speedy Trial Act. The Magistrate Judge granted Nickerson’s motion to dismiss and dismissed her charges because the government provided no justification for secretly videotaping Nickerson in her holding cell after she was arrested. However, the district court granted the government’s appeal of the dismissal and affirmed Nickerson’s convictions because no nexus existed between the videotape and the prosecution of Nickerson due to the fact that the government was not videotaping Nickerson to collect evidence. Nickerson moved to dismiss her charges a second time based on the Speedy Trial Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 3161(d)(2) and 3162, and when that motion failed, she appealed to the district court challenging the denial. The district court denied Nickerson’s motion. After looking at the statute as a whole and prior Ninth Circuit cases, the Ninth Circuit determined that the Speedy Trial Act applies only to “offenses,” which does not include Class B misdemeanors. Therefore, the Speedy Trial Act did not apply to Nickerson’s convictions. Based on Nickerson’s insufficient arguments supporting her dismissal motions, the panel affirmed the district court’s affirmation of Nickerson’s convictions. AFFIRMED.

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