United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Criminal Procedure – appeal — fugitive disentitlement doctrine
Where the defendant fled the country after sentencing, his appeal is dismissed.
“In light of Jacob’s flight from the country, we grant the government’s motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court has long recognized that dismissal is warranted when a criminal defendant becomes a fugitive. Ortega-Rodriguez v. United States, 507 U.S. 234 (1993); Molinaro v. New Jersey, 396 U.S. 365 (1970); Smith v. United States, 94 U.S. 97 (1876). The Court reasons that an escape from custody ‘disentitles the defendant to call upon the resources of the Court for determination of his claims,’ Molinaro, 396 U.S. at 366, and that this procedure serves to deter future escapees, maintain an ‘efficient, dignified appellate practice,’ and prevent courts from issuing unenforceable judgments, Ortega-Rodriguez, 507 U.S. at 240-42. Although dismissal in these circumstances is discretionary, see id. at 239-40; Gutierrez-Almazan v. Gonzales, 453 F.3d 956, 957 (7th Cir. 2006), because Jacob remains at large and has expressed no interest in returning to serve his prison sentence, this appeal is DISMISSED.”
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, Reagan, J., Per Curiam.