Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Schultz: Magistrate Judge can decide self-representation

In U.S. v. Schultz, No. 06-11673 (April 22, 2009), the Court affirmed fraud convictions and dismissed the defendant’s appeal in part for lack of jurisdiction.
The Court found no error in having a Magistrate Judge, as opposed to an Article III district court, decide Schultz’s Faretta motion for self-representation.
The Court noted that it lacked appellate jurisdiction to review the rulings of a Magistrate Judge, and therefore could not review Schultz’ challenge to the Magistrate Judge’s order denying self-representation. The Court noted that Schultz’ attorney orally objected at the commencement of trial in the district court to the lack of self-representation, and that the district court ruled "denied." However, the Court noted that Schultz’ oral motion did not alert the district court to the Magistrate Judge’s order. The Court rejected Schultz’s argument that the Magistrate Judge failed to inform him of the 10-day deadline for filing objections. The Court pointed out that the 10-day deadline notice requirement applies to reports and recomendations, not to pre-trial orders, and, further, was not yet in effect at the time of Schultz’ proceedings prior to September 2005.