Friday, July 24, 2015

Issues re: statute of limitations, duplicity, jury instructions and verdict form waived because not raised until post-trial

U.S. v. Madsen, 2015 WL 3814551 (6/19/15) (Ut.) (unpub'd) - Another in a long line of 10th preservation/waiver rulings. After the jury returned its verdict, but before the trial court accepted the verdict, the court asked for briefing. For the first time Dr. Madsen raised challenges related to the statute of limitations, the duplicitous indictment, the jury instructions and the verdict form. After 14-months of extensive briefing and multiple post-trial hearings, the court ruled against Dr. Madsen on the merits and accepted the jury's verdict. All that briefing and ruling didn't matter. Because Dr. Madsen did not raise the issues at a time when the court could have avoided the ostensible errors, he did not preserve his challenges. He only raised the issues when the court could only rectify errors it had already made. Of course, this means a motion for new trial would not preserve any issues that could have been raised before or during trial. To top it all off, every issue he raised on appeal didn't even qualify for plain error review. The issues were waived, the 10th rules. First, the statute of limitations is an affirmative defense that is waived if not asserted at trial. Second, a party who fails to raise objections to an indictment before trial waives any such objections. Dr. Madsen did not show good cause for his untimeliness to avoid that waiver. His pro se status got no sympathy from the 10th. Third, if a defendant does not timely challenge an indictment on duplicitous grounds, the defendant waives any challenge to a failure to use a special verdict form to avoid the duplicity problem.