United States v. Rudolph

Brief of Amicus Curiae National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in support of Defendant-Appellant

Brief filed: 03/20/2024


United States v. Rudolph

10th Circuit Court of Appeals; Case No. 23-1278

Prior Decision

Case below USA v. Rudolph, Case No. 1-22-CR-00012


Joint trials threaten a myriad of trial rights, including the constitutional right to confront witnesses, the constitutional right to present a defense, evidentiary rights, and the right to not be punished for a codefendant’s misdeeds. To avoid the undue prejudice associated with joint trials, a defendant can move to sever his trial under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 14. And district courts should grant those motions if the threat of prejudice outweighs the administrative benefits of a joint trial. The Tenth Circuit has not provided district courts with a comprehensive statement about the types of prejudice posed by joint trials. Lacking comprehensive guidance, district courts often overlook some of the types of prejudice at issue and erroneously deny defendants’ Rule 14 motions to sever. While this case demands a new trial, it also presents the Court with the opportunity to provide a comprehensive statement of the categories of prejudice district courts should consider when ruling on severance motions. The types of prejudice courts should consider should include at least the four types present in this case.


Neil Sandhu, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP, Denver, CO and Norman Mueller, Haddon, Morgan and Foreman P.C., Denver, CO.

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