New opinion: interlocutory criminal appeal dismissed on jurisdiction

The Third Circuit dismissed an interlocutory criminal appeal today. Even though the government and the co-defendants agreed that the court had jurisdiction, the court ruled otherwise.

Three co-defendants, including the chief of staff to a Philadelphia city councilman, were convicted of honest services fraud and other charges. In 2012, CA3 vacated the convictions under Skilling. On remand, the co-defendants argued that double jeopardy barred the prosecution from using certain evidence and that the limit on constructive amendment of indictments barred it from making certain arguments. When the district court disagreed, they appealed.

Today, CA3 dismissed the appeal. The defendants’ double-jeopardy arguments did not trigger the collateral-order exception to the final-judgment rule because the exclusion of evidence they sought would not require dismissal of any count in its entirety. The defendant’s constructive-amendment arguments failed under Midland Asphalt. And because the co-defendants had not shown irreparable injury, the court also denied mandamus.

The case is US v. Wright. Opinion by Vanaskie, joined by Ambro and Chagares. Arguing counsel were Lisa Matthewson for the defendants and Jennifer Williams for the government. The co-defendants were represented by Ellen Brotman of Montgomery McCracken and Peter Goldberger, making this one of the more star-studded recent CA3 criminal appeals.