FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in St. Louis gave notice that it intends to listen to oral arguments in Joshua Duggar’s appeal of his child pornography conviction.
On October 18, the court announced that the case had been “screened for oral argument.” The exact date of that has not yet been determined.
In its October 3 filing, the defense requested 20 minutes of time before the court. Rule 34 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure notes that the standards for the court hearing an oral argument are broad, reading:
“Oral argument must be allowed in every case unless a panel of three judges who have examined the briefs and record unanimously agrees that oral argument is unnecessary for any of the following reasons:
- (A) the appeal is frivolous
- (B) the dispositive issue or issues have been authoritatively decided, or
- (C) the facts and legal arguments are adequately presented in the briefs and record, and the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument”
That rule also notes that counsel is prohibited from reading “at length from briefs, records, or authorities.”
The court announced that each side would receive a calendar approximately four weeks before the scheduled argument date. Counsel were advised to review the court’s current and future argument dates to determine if there are any potential scheduling conflicts.
Online schedules for the appeals court are published approximately 30 days in advance. According to that, the next set of dates for oral arguments before the court in St. Louis are December 12-16 and January 9-13, 2023. There is currently no guarantee that Duggar’s argument will be heard during either of those windows.
The prosecution filed an unopposed motion on October 14 requesting an extension of the deadline to file a response to the defense’s appeal brief, which Duggar’s attorneys filed on October 3 after several delays. Duggar, 34, a former reality TV star, is currently serving a 151-month federal prison sentence in FCI Seagoville outside of Dallas.
Duggar was found unanimously guilty in the western district of Arkansas federal court in Fayetteville in December 2021 and was sentenced in May. His defense team has maintained his innocence throughout the case.
UPDATE: On the afternoon of October 19, the government sent a letter to the court, stating that new Department of Justice attorney Joshua K. Handell “will be unavailable to participate in argument during the sessions scheduled for the week of December 12-16.” The notice added that the prosecution has no other conflicts with any potential dates presented on the court’s calendar.