Over at Last

10th Circuit opinion concludes nine-year legal battle on Rule 36

Fraud, a murder trial and six amended judgments: The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision to end a nine-year legal battle that has spanned two states and included six amended judgments and several appeals.

The issue for the court to decide centered on Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 36, which gives a district court authority to correct clerical mistakes in records such as judgments or orders. But the court stated the rule is narrow and only applies to mechanical, non-substantive errors that are “uncontroversial,” and the prosecution and defense disagree on whether one amended judgment order issued by the District of Colorado of the U.S. District Court complies with Rule 36.

“Notice to the defendant is not even strictly required for Rule 36 fixes because the error should be so clear on the face of the record as to obviate the need for subsequent adversarial proceedings,” stated the 10th Circuit in its opinion. “The mere existence of this contentious appeal, then, bodes ill for the Rule 36 authorization.”