Brief filed: 12/22/2016
McFadden v. United States
United States Supreme Court; Case No. 16-679
Case below 823 F.3d 217 (4th Cir. May 19, 2016).
The Court should grant certiorari to confirm that instructional error as to a contested element is never harmless. The Constitution prohibits judges from directing a verdict on a contested element of a criminal offense. The circuits are split over whether overwhelming evidence can render harmless the omission of a contested element, and the issue is a recurring one. This case presents an ideal vehicle to resolve the lower court confusion over the harmless error test applicable to instructional errors.
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