Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Magistrate Judge lacks authority to enter dispositive order without consent

United States v. Browning, No. 10-7059 (4th Cir. Oct. 22, 2010):

A United States magistrate judge only has the authority to enter a final, appealable order on the consent of all parties. 28 U.S.C. § 636(c).  When such consent does not exist, a magistrate judge lacks authority to enter a final dispositive order; a district court must review the magistrate judge’s order or proposed findings and make a ruling.  Otherwise, such non-consented dispositive order is subject to remand.

Fourth Circuit determines correct rule to use when final order is sent to prisoner at old address

United States v. Kemp, No. 10-7024 (4th Cir. Oct. 27, 2010):

When a district court sends a final order to a prisoner at an old address, an untimely appeal of that order should be analyzed pursuant to Fed. R. App. P. 4(a)(6) (permitting a discretionary reopening of time to appeal when moving party did not receive notice of entry of judgment), not Rule 4(a)(5) (requiring excusable neglect and good cause).  However, when it is the prisoner's fault for not updating his address on file, the result may be the same.

Fourth Circuit Habeas Blog Launch

This blog is devoted to covering the Fourth Circuit's rulings concerning 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241 and 2254.  It will also discuss some 28 U.S.C. § 2255 cases.  To the extent that district courts within the Fourth Circuit address novel or interesting issues in this field, those cases will be highlighted, too.

For information on the Second Circuit, see Habeas Corpus Blog, http://habeascorpusblog.typepad.com/.  For the Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits, see 2254blog, http://2254blog.wordpress.com/.