Brief filed: 04/21/2021
United States v. B.G.G.
11th Circuit Court of Appeals; Case No. 21-10165-RR
On Appeal From the United States District Court For the Southern District of Florida, No. 20-80063-CR Honorable Donald M. Middlebrooks
Statutes of limitations must be interpreted in favor of repose. Statutes must be interpreted to avoid absurd results. The government's proposed interpretation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 3282 and 3288-- under which it obtains a six-month extension of the statute of limitations by filing a defective information the day before the statute runs and moving to dismiss it the day after--flouts the Toussieprinciple. That interpretation also violates the rule that courts will not interpret statutes in a way that produces an absurd result. The Seventh Circuit case on which the government principally relies--United States v. Burdix-Dana, 149 F.3d 741 (7th Cir. 1998)--overlooks both these principles and is poorly reasoned in other respects as well. The government seeks to obtain through a tortured interpretation of §§ 3282 and 3288 an outcome that Congress refused to enact when the Department of Justice proposed it as legislation last year, at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic. The district court correctly rejected the government's approach. This Court should affirm.
John D. Cline, Law Office of John D. Cline, San Francisco, CA; Amy Mason Saharia, Williams & Connolly LLP, Washington, DC; Clark Neilly, Cato Institute, Washington, DC.