Rule of Law

RELEASE: Flynn: Full D.C. Circuit Correctly Returns Case to District Court

WASHINGTON – On news that the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued its decision in In re: Michael T. Flynn, denying Flynn’s attempt to compel the District Court to grant the Department of Justice’s motion to dismiss criminal charges to which Flynn has already pleaded guilty, CAC President Elizabeth Wydra issued the following statement:

Today’s ruling against General Flynn, though expected, is certainly still welcome. The three-judge panel decision that was overruled by the full D.C. Circuit this morning would essentially have erased a vital check by the judiciary on the power of the executive branch. At the time of the panel’s decision, we called on the full D.C. Circuit to take up that ruling and reverse it, and we are grateful it did.

It bears repeating that the text and history of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure make clear that the U.S. District Court judge presiding over Flynn’s case is not simply a potted plant. He has a say in whether Attorney General Barr should be allowed to simply drop charges to which Flynn has already pleaded guilty, an act that would aid one of President Trump’s stalwart allies by essentially giving him a “get out of jail free” card. In fact, FRCP 48(a) was designed to prevent such corrupt or politically motivated dismissals that would harm the public interest. We are gratified that Flynn’s attempt to circumvent that rule was rejected today.

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Resources:

CAC brief in United States v. Flynn, filed in D.C. District Court on behalf of criminal law professors: https://www.theusconstitution.org/litigation/united-states-v-flynn/ 

“What a 1924 case from Montana says about dismissing the Flynn prosecution,” Dayna Zolle, Washington Post, August 10, 2020: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/08/10/what-1924-case-montana-says-about-dismissing-flynn-prosecution/ 

CAC release: Appeals Court Deals Body Blow to Checks and Balances in Flynn Case (referring to three-judge panel ruling), June 24, 2020: https://www.theusconstitution.org/news/release-appeals-court-deals-body-blow-to-checks-and-balances-in-flynn-case/ 

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Constitutional Accountability Center is a think tank, public interest law firm, and action center dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text and history. Visit CAC’s website at www.theusconstitution.org.

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