Eberhart v. United States

PETITIONER: Ivan Eberhart
RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

DOCKET NO.: 04-9949
DECIDED BY: Roberts Court (2005-2006)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

CITATION: 546 US 12 (2005)
DECIDED: Oct 31, 2005
GRANTED: Oct 31, 2005

Facts of the case

Ivan Eberhart was convicted of conspiring to distribute cocaine. He filed a motion for judgment of acquittal or for a new trial on the last day available for post-trial motions. Eberhart claimed that a flaw in the transcript published to the jury provided the basis for his motion. Six months later, he filed a “supplemental memorandum” alleging two additional grounds for his motion: the admission of potential hearsay testimony into evidence, and the district court’s failure to give a “buyer-seller instruction” to the jury. The district court granted Eberhart’s motion for a new trial. However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed and held that the district court did not have jurisdiction to grant a new trial under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 33, which states that a motion for a new trial that is not based on new evidence must be filed within seven days of the verdict. Because Eberhart filed after the seven-day deadline, a new trial could not be granted.

Question

Does Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 33, which creates a seven-day limit for filing a motion for a new trial that is not based on newly discovered evidence, create a jurisdictional bar that prevents a district court from granting a new trial?