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United States v. Hartzler

United States District Court, Eighth Circuit

October 18, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
CHAD ALLEN HARTZLER, Defendant.

ORDER CONCERNING MAGISTRATE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION REGARDING DEFENDANT'S RULE 11(c)(1)(C) GUILTY PLEA

MARK W. BENNETT, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

On October 8, 2013, defendant Chad Allen Hartzler was charged in an information with wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1343. On October 17, 2013, defendant appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Leonard T. Strand and entered a plea of guilty to Count 1 of the Information, under a binding plea agreement, pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(c)(1)(C). In the plea agreement, the parties have stipulated to a sentence of 51 months imprisonment, followed by 60 months of supervised release. On the same day, Judge Strand filed a Report and Recommendation in which he recommends that defendant's guilty plea be accepted. No objections to Judge Strand's Report and Recommendation were filed.[1] The court, therefore, undertakes the necessary review of Judge Strand's recommendation to accept defendant's plea in this case.

II. ANALYSIS

The court reviews the magistrate judge's report and recommendation pursuant to the statutory standards found in 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1):

A judge of the court shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made. A judge of the court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge. The judge may also receive further evidence or recommit the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions.

28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) (2006); see Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b) (stating identical requirements); N.D. IA. L.R. 72, 72.1 (allowing the referral of dispositive matters to a magistrate judge but not articulating any standards to review the magistrate judge's report and recommendation). While examining these statutory standards, the United States Supreme Court explained:

Any party that desires plenary consideration by the Article III judge of any issue need only ask. Moreover, while the statute does not require the judge to review an issue de novo if no objections are filed, it does not preclude further review by the district judge, sua sponte or at the request of a party, under a de novo or any other standard.

Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 154 (1985). Thus, a district court may review de novo any issue in a magistrate judge's report and recommendation at any time. Id. If a party files an objection to the magistrate judge's report and recommendation, however, the district court must "make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). In the absence of an objection, the district court is not required "to give any more consideration to the magistrate's report than the court considers appropriate." Thomas, 474 U.S. at 150.

In this case, no objections have been filed. As a result, the court has reviewed the magistrate judge's report and recommendation under a clearly erroneous standard of review. See Grinder v. Gammon, 73 F.3d 793, 795 (8th Cir. 1996) (noting when no objections are filed and the time for filing objections has expired, "[the district court judge] would only have to review the findings of the magistrate judge for clear error"); Taylor v. Farrier, 910 F.2d 518, 520 (8th Cir. 1990) (noting the advisory committee's note to Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b) indicates "when no timely objection is filed the court need only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record"). Therefore, the court accepts Judge Strand's Report and Recommendation, and accepts defendant's plea of guilty in this case to Count 1 of the Information. However, the court will not decide at this time whether it will accept the parties' Rule 11(c)(1)(C) plea agreement and the agreed upon sentence in that plea agreement. Instead, the court will make that determination at the end of the sentencing hearing in this case. In the event the court decides not to accept the terms of the parties' plea agreement, defendant will be given the opportunity to withdraw his plea of guilty, or not withdraw his guilty plea and proceed with the sentencing. See FED. R. CRIM. P. 11(c)(5).

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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