United States v. Myers

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 09-14-2015
  • Case #: 13-10580
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Murguia for the Court; Circuit Judges McKeown and Friedland
  • Full Text Opinion

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11(c)(1) categorically prohibits judicial participation, except where a defendant waives the rule’s application to their case.

Lloyd Myers was indicted for nine counts of wire fraud and one count conspiracy to commit wire fraud, for his actions regarding a Ponzi scheme he ran with his brother. As trial approached, Myers asked for a magistrate judge led settlement conference, permissible under Northern District of California Criminal Local Rule 11-1, which was granted. Myers accepted a plea agreement of one count conspiracy to commit wire fraud and waived his right to appeal. Myers appealed his plea agreement, arguing that the settlement conference violated Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 11(c)(1). On appeal, the Ninth Circuit analyzed whether Myers preserved his right to appeal. The panel held that Rule 11(c)(1) creates a categorical prohibition against judicial participation in plea negotiation, even if the defendant asks for the conference. The panel stated that the Local Rule 11-1 was in conflict with the Federal Rule. The panel acknowledged that a defendant can waive their Rule 11(c)(1) rights, but that Myers failed to knowingly do so. However, the panel further found that Myers did not meet the plain error standard, because the error of the settlement conference did not lead to Myers’ acceptance of the plea, rather it simply facilitated it. AFFIRMED.

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