United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Western Division
ORDER REGARDING MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
RECOMMENDATION CONCERNING DEFENDANT'S
W. BENNETT U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
February 18, 2016, an Indictment charged defendant
Christopher Scott Jepsen with one count of possession of
child pornography, after a prior conviction of sexual abuse
in the third degree in Iowa state court, in violation of 18
U.S.C. §§ 2252(a)(4)(B) and 2252(b)(2). Jepsen
initially pleaded not guilty to the charge, but on April 23,
2018, he entered a notice of his intention to plead guilty in
7, 2018, Jepsen appeared before United States Magistrate
Judge Kelly K.E. Mahoney and entered a plea of guilty to the
sole count of the Indictment pursuant to a Rule 11(c)(1)(C)
plea agreement, a copy of which was entered into evidence. On
May 8, 2018, Judge Mahoney filed a Report And Recommendation
that Jepsen's guilty plea be accepted, and on May 10,
2018, she filed an Amended Report And Recommendation making
the same recommendation. Judge Mahoney explained, inter
alia, that she had advised Jepsen that, at the
sentencing hearing, the district judge would consider whether
or not to accept the plea agreement and impose the agreed
sentence. She explained that she advised Jepsen, further,
that if the district judge decided to accept the plea
agreement and impose the agreed sentence, then Jepsen would
receive the agreed sentence, but if the district judge
decided to reject the plea agreement and impose a different
sentence, then Jepsen would have an opportunity to withdraw
his plea of guilty and plead not guilty.
party filed objections to the Report And Recommendation by
the deadline of May 24, 2018. Consequently, I now undertake
the necessary review of Judge Mahoney's recommendation to
accept Jepsen's guilty plea in this case.
district judge must review a magistrate judge's Report
And Recommendation in a criminal case under the following
Within fourteen days after being served with a copy, any
party may serve and file written objections to such proposed
findings and recommendations as provided by rules of court. 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); see also Fed. R. Crim.
P. 59(b). Thus, when a party objects to any portion of a
Report and Recommendation, the district judge must undertake
a de novo review of that portion.
other hand, any portion of a Report and Recommendation to
which no objections have been made must be reviewed under at
least a “clearly erroneous” standard. See,
e.g., Grinder v. Gammon, 73 F.3d 793, 795 (8th Cir.
1996) (noting that when no objections are filed “[the
district court judge] would only have to review the findings
of the magistrate judge for clear error”). As the
Supreme Court has explained, “[a] finding is
‘clearly erroneous' when although there is evidence
to support it, the reviewing court on the entire evidence is
left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has
been committed.” Anderson v. City of Bessemer
City, 470 U.S. 564, 573-74 (1985) (quoting United
States v. U.S. Gypsum Co., 333 U.S. 364, 395 (1948)).
district judge may elect to review a Report and
Recommendation under a more-exacting standard even if no
objections are filed:
Any party who 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, 150 (1985).