Disarray Among the Federal Circuits: Harmless Error Review of Rule 11 Violations
Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11 governs how a defendant must be counseled when pleading guilty or nolo contendre. Federal Courts of Appeals have held that violation of Rule 11 is harmless error. Since it is harmless error, the lower courts’ decisions are upheld. This article argues that the Federal Courts of Appeals have misapplied the harmless error standard when deciding Rule 11 issues.