In a published decision on September 8, 2022, concerning criminal procedure and the Constitution’s Ex Post Facto Clause, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit adopted the arguments advanced by Womble Bond Dickinson attorney Sean Andrussier, whom the Third Circuit had appointed as amicus counsel to present briefing and argument in support of the appellant, litigating against the United States government.

Andrussier was a Duke law professor for years before recently rejoining Womble Bond Dickinson (US). The case, United States v. Norwood, centered on criminal restitution liability and involved statutory and constitutional issues. In reversing the district court, the Third Circuit majority ultimately held that the government was seeking to retroactively apply a criminal restitution statute in violation of the Ex Post Facto Clause. Andrussier handled the case with third-year students in Duke’s Appellate Litigation Clinic, which for years he directed. 

The Third Circuit panel commended the efforts, writing in the opinion: “We express our gratitude to Sean E. Andrussier and the student advocates of the Duke University School of Law’s Appellate Litigation Clinic for accepting this matter pro bono, and we commend them for their excellent briefing and argument.”