(Added Apr. 25, 2005, eff. Dec. 1, 2005; amended Mar. 26, 2009, eff. Dec. 1, 2009.)
Rule 59, which dealt with the effective date of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, is no longer necessary and has been deleted.
Rule 59 is a new rule that creates a procedure for a district judge to review nondispositive and dispositive decisions by magistrate judges. The rule is derived in part from Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72. The Committee’s consideration of a new rule on the subject of review of a magistrate judge’s decisions resulted from United States v. Abonce-Barrera, 257 F.3d 959 (9th Cir. 2001). In that case the Ninth Circuit held that the Criminal Rules do not require appeals from nondispositive decisions by magistrate judges to district judges as a requirement for review by a court of appeals. The court suggested that Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72 could serve as a suitable model for a criminal rule. Rule 59(a) sets out procedures to be used in reviewing nondispositive matters, that is, those matters that do not dispose of the case. The rule requires that if the district judge has referred a matter to a magistrate judge, the magistrate judge must issue an oral or written order on the record. To preserve the issue for further review, a party must object to that order within 10 days after being served with a copy of the order or after the oral order is stated on the record or at some other time set by the court. If an objection is made, the district court is required to consider the objection. If the court determines that the magistrate judge’s order, or a portion of the order, is contrary to law or is clearly erroneous, the court must set aside the order, or the affected part of the order. See also 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A). Rule 59(b) provides for assignment and review of recommendations made by magistrate judges on dispositive matters, including motions to suppress or quash an indictment or information. The rule directs the magistrate judge to consider the matter promptly, hold any necessary evidentiary hearings, and enter his or her recommendation on the record. After being served with a copy of the magistrate judge’s recommendation, under Rule 59(b)(2), the parties have a period of 10 days to file any objections. If any objections are filed, the district court must consider the matter de novo and accept, reject, or modify the recommendation, or return the matter to the magistrate judge for further consideration. Both Rule 59(a) and (b) contain a provision that explicitly states that failure to file an objection in accordance with the rule amounts to a waiver of the issue. This waiver provision is intended to establish the requirements for objecting in a district court in order to preserve appellate review of magistrate judges’ decisions. In Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 155 (1985), the Supreme Court approved the adoption of waiver rules on matters for which a magistrate judge had made a decision or recommendation. The Committee believes that the waiver provisions will enhance the ability of a district court to review a magistrate judge’s decision or recommendation by requiring a party to promptly file an objection to that part of the decision or recommendation at issue. Further, the Supreme Court has held that a de novo review of a magistrate judge’s decision or recommendation is required to satisfy Article III concerns only where there is an objection. Peretz v. United States, 501 U.S. 293 (1991). Despite the waiver provisions, the district judge retains the authority to review any magistrate judge’s decision or recommendation whether or not objections are timely filed. This discretionary review is in accord with the Supreme Court’s decision in Thomas v. Arn, supra, at 154. See also Matthews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270–271 (1976). Although the rule distinguishes between “dispositive” and “nondispositive” matters, it does not attempt to define or otherwise catalog motions that may fall within either category. Instead, that task is left to the case law. Changes Made After Publication and Comment. The Committee adopted almost all of the style suggestions by the Style Subcommittee, and several of the suggestions by the Federal Magistrate Judges’ Association. In particular the Committee adopted a variation of the language suggested by the Association concerning matters disposing of a “charge or defense.” The committee also addressed the issue in Rule 59(a) of clarifying the starting point for the 10 days in which to file objections by changing the word “made” in line 9 to read “stated.” In Rule 59(b)(1) the Committee rearranged the order of the sample motions that would be considered “dispositive.” Finally, the Committee included a paragraph at the end of the Committee Note, addressing the decision not to further specify in the rule, or the Note, what matters might be dispositive or nondispositive.
The times set in the former rule at 10 days have been revised to 14 days. See the Committee Note to Rule 45(a).