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Jenkins v. United States

December 30, 1963

JAMES FRANCIS JENKINS, APPELLANT,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, APPELLEE.



Author: Forman

Before McLAUGHLIN, HASTIE and FORMAN, Circuit Judges.

FORMAN, Circuit Judge.

On March 12, 1959, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, James F. Jenkins and Randall C. Nuss*fn1 were indicted for, among other things, knowingly and unlawfully taking and carrying away with intent to steal $17,870 from the Girard Trust Corn Exchange Bank, Lawrence Park Office, Broomall, Pennsylvania. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation insured the bank.

On January 4, 1960, Jenkins appeared with his counsel, Garfield W. Levy, Esq., before the District Court.*fn2 Directly after the selection of a jury, he changed his plea to the indictment from "not guilty" to "guilty". The Court then sentenced him under 18 U.S.C. § 4208(a) to a term of 12 years with parole eligibility at the end of four years.

On February 26, 1962, Jenkins filed a petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to vacate or correct sentence. The essence of his argument was that he had been illegally "induced by the court to change his plea from 'not guilty' to 'guilty'."

On September 13, 1962, after a full hearing, the District Court denied the petition, albeit it ordered that the sentence provide for a term of nine years, instead of twelve, and that eligibility for parole start at the end of three years, instead of four. Jenkins had filed an appeal from the denial of his petition.

The only findings and conclusions that the District Court made were those uttered at the close of the hearing, when it said:

"I find as a fact that I agree with Mr. Levy.

"I find as a fact that no misrepresentations were made.

"I deny the petition."

Examination of the record discloses, additional

Examination of the record discloses, additionally, that there is neither an opinion nor a memorandum of decision containing findings of fact and conclusions of law.

The record lacks any written order for final judgment.*fn3 Any entry of final judgment on the docket of the District Court Clerk is also absent.

Jenkins's motion to vacate sentence is not a proceeding in the original criminal prosecution but an independent criminal prosecution but an independent civil suit.*fn4 And when the present motion was before the District Court in 1962, neither statute nor rule demanded that final judgment be set forth on a separate document,*fn5 as the 1963 amendment to Rule 58 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure currently requires.*fn6 It was then and is now ...


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