United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Western Division
ORDER REGARDING MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
RECOMMENDATION CONCERNING DEFENDANT'S GUILTY
W. BENNETT U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
March 21, 2018, an Indictment charged defendant Lee Charles
Mercer, in Count 1, with conspiracy to
distribute 500 grams or more of a methamphetamine mixture
containing 50 grams or more of actual (pure) methamphetamine
after a felony drug conviction, in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(A), 846, and 851, and in
Count 2, with possession with intent to
distribute 50 grams of a methamphetamine mixture containing 5
grams or more of actual (pure) methamphetamine after a felony
drug conviction, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§
841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(B), and 851. Mercer initially pleaded
not guilty to the charges, but on August 3, 2018, he entered
a notice of his intention to plead guilty in this case.
August 21, 2018, Mercer appeared before United States
Magistrate Judge Kelly K.E. Mahoney and entered a plea of
guilty to Count 1 of the Indictment pursuant
to a plea agreement, a copy of which was entered into
evidence, providing for dismissal of Count 2
at sentencing. On August 23, 2018, Judge Mahoney filed a
Report And Recommendation that Mercer's guilty plea be
August 23, 2018, the parties filed a Waiver Of Objections To
Report And Recommendation Concerning Guilty Plea, waiving
their right to object to the guilty plea and consenting to
acceptance of that guilty plea by a district judge. Because
the parties have waived objections, I now undertake the
necessary review of Judge Mahoney's recommendation to
accept Mercer'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).