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United States v. Hollingsworth

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

April 14, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
DAVID W. HOLLINGSWORTH, Defendant - Appellant

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Edward John Rivera, Esq., Assistant U.S. Attorney, Kevin G. Boitmann, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Diane Hollenshead Copes, Esq., Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA.

For David W. Hollingsworth, Defendant - Appellant: Jordan Mark Siverd, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Federal Public Defender's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA.

Before HIGGINBOTHAM, CLEMENT, and HIGGINSON, Circuit Judges. PATRICK E. HIGGINBOTHAM, Circuit Judge, concurring. STEPHEN A. HIGGINSON, Circuit Judge, dissenting.

OPINION

Page 557

EDITH BROWN CLEMENT, Circuit Judge:

A federal magistrate judge tried defendant-appellant David W. Hollingsworth (" Hollingsworth" ) for a petty offense committed on a federal enclave.[1] The magistrate judge conducted a bench trial, entered

Page 558

a verdict of guilty, and sentenced Hollingsworth to six months in federal prison. Hollingsworth appealed to the federal district court.[2] The district court affirmed the judgment and sentence entered by the magistrate judge.[3] Hollingsworth now appeals to this court.[4] For the reasons explained below, we AFFIRM the judgment of the district court.

Facts and Proceedings

Hollingsworth was charged with violating 18 U.S.C. § 113(a)(5), a petty offense,[5] at the Naval Air Station Joint Reverse Base New Orleans, a military base located in Belle Chasse, Louisiana (" Belle Chasse" ). It is uncontested that Belle Chasse is a federal enclave under U.S. Const. Art. I, § 8, cl. 17 (" Clause 17" ),[6] and § 113 is effective on such enclaves. See 18 U.S.C. § 113(a) (providing that law applies " within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States" ). Hollingsworth objected to trial before the federal magistrate judge, but the magistrate judge held that she had jurisdiction to try Hollingsworth without his consent. Hollingsworth appealed his conviction to the district court, arguing that he had a right to a jury trial. The district court affirmed the conviction and sentence entered by the magistrate judge.

Standard of Review

We apply the same standard of review used by the district court. Peck, 545 F.2d at 964 (" In our review we apply to the magistrate the same standard used by the district court." ). Thus we review the magistrate judge's findings of fact for clear error and conclusions of law de novo. Compare Fed. R. Crim. P. 58(g)(2)(D) (providing that district court's review of magistrate judge's judgment " is the same as in an appeal to the court of appeals from a judgment entered by a district judge" ), with Mid-Continent Cas. Co. v. Davis, 683 F.3d 651, 654 (5th Cir. 2012) (" In an appeal from a district court's final judgment following a bench trial, we review the district court's findings of fact for clear error and review conclusions of law de novo." ).

Page 559

Discussion

I.

A.

Hollingsworth now argues for the first time that he has a constitutional right to trial before an Art. III judge.[7] The Government argues that, because Belle Chasse is a federal enclave, Hollingsworth does not have a right to trial before an Art. III judge.

In Palmore v. United States, 411 U.S. 389, 93 S.Ct. 1670, 36 L.Ed.2d 342 (1973), the Supreme Court held that " Congress [is] not required to provide an Art. III court for the trial of criminal cases arising under its laws applicable only within the District of Columbia." Id. at 410.[8] Hollingsworth was tried for the violation of a federal criminal statute that applies only " within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States." 18 U.S.C. § 113(a)(5). Thus under Palmore, Hollingsworth has no constitutional right to trial before an Art. III court. See Jenkins, 734 F.2d at 1326 (holding that " the requirements of Article III are consistent with the establishment by Congress of non-Article III courts to enforce federal criminal laws" in Clause 17 federal enclaves).

Hollingsworth also argues that, even if Congress could refer his trial to an Article I court under Clause 17, the magistrate judge who heard his case is not a member of such a court. But Congress " exercise[s] within [federal enclaves] all legislative powers that the legislature of a state might exercise within the State, and may vest and distribute the judicial authority in and among courts and magistrates, and regulate judicial proceedings before them, as it may think fit, so long as it does not contravene any provision of the constitution of the United States." Palmore, 411 U.S. at 397 (quoting Capital Traction Co. v. Hof, 174 U.S. 1, 5, 19 S.Ct. 580, 43 L.Ed. 873 (1899)). Hollingsworth fails to cite any constitutional provision that Congress violated when it referred his trial to a federal magistrate judge. Indeed, the particular facts of Hollingsworth's case show that, as applied, Congress has not even entered the constitutional borderlands. Pursuant to Clause 17, Congress could have referred all trials for crimes committed at Belle Chasse to an Article I ...


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