TV ads airing this week in Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Oregon focus on the harmful impact of key senators' votes to confirm Bush nominees Samuel Alito and John Roberts to the U.S. Supreme Court and urges them to stop supporting bad judges.
In criminal cases, the Fourth Circuit defines a “plain error” as one that is obvious, detrimentally affects the rights of the defendant, and is so egregious as to implicate the “fairness, integrity, or public reputation of judicial proceedings. . .” United States v. Bellamy, 264 F.3d 448, 445 (4th Cir. 2001), cert. denied, 543 U.S. 1143 (2002). This very strong language makes it clear that plain error is not a term used by the Circuit to describe harmless or justifiable mistakes.