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Bowles v. Russell

United States Supreme Court
551 U.S. 205 (2007)


Keith Bowles (defendant) was convicted of murder. He had 30 days to file an appeal but did not do so. He then filed a motion to reopen the window in which he could file an appeal. The motion was filed pursuant to Rule 4(a)(6) of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure under which district courts can extend the period for filing an appeal for 14 days. The district court granted Bowles’s motion, but rather than 14 days, the court’s order gave him 17 days within which to file his appeal. Bowles filed his notice of appeal within 17 days of the order, but not within 14 days as was required by Rule 4(a)(6). On appeal, the court of appeals found that Bowles’s appeal was not timely and so it lacked jurisdiction to hear the appeal. Bowles appealed and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari. Bowles argued that the Court had previously granted an “excusable neglect” exception to the 14-day window for parties that had undergone great hardship.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Thomas, J.)

Dissent (Souter, J.)

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