United States v. Sueiro, No. 19-4525 (4th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
The Fourth Circuit held that it does not have subject matter jurisdiction to consider defendant's interlocutory appeal challenging the district court's denial of his Faretta motion. In this case, defendant was charged with four federal child pornography counts and wants to represent himself at trial.
The court explained that, given the narrowness of the collateral order doctrine in criminal cases, the Supreme Court has only held that four types of orders are immediately appealable: orders denying a Double Jeopardy Clause challenge, orders denying a Speech or Debate Clause challenge, orders denying a motion to reduce bail, and orders allowing for the forced medication of criminal defendants. The court pointed to the strongly worded dictum in Flanagan v. United States, 465 U.S. 259, 263 (1984), in which the Supreme Court specifically cited a Faretta order as an example of a decision that would be effectively reviewable on appeal from a final judgment. The court concluded that it was bound by this stricter interpretation and therefore solely relied on collateral order jurisprudence within the criminal context.