Skip to main content


Reset A A Font size: Print

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit.

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff - Appellee, v. Brian Michael HAPPEL, Defendant - Appellant.

No. 19-6290

Decided: May 21, 2019

Before DIAZ and THACKER, Circuit Judges, and HAMILTON, Senior Circuit Judge. Brian Michael Happel, Appellant Pro Se.

Brian M. Happel appeals the district court's order denying his motion to expunge his criminal record. The district court found no extreme or exceptional circumstances supporting expungement, pursuant to Allen v. Webster, 742 F.2d 153, 155 (4th Cir. 1984). See United States v. Happel, No. 2:95-cr-00013-1 (E.D. Va. Feb. 11, 2019). We conclude, however, that federal ancillary jurisdiction does not extend to petitions for equitable expungement. See Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 379-81, 114 S.Ct. 1673, 128 L.Ed.2d 391 (1994); see also Rice v. Rivera, 617 F.3d 802, 807 (4th Cir. 2010) (recognizing that “[e]very federal appellate court has a special obligation to satisfy itself not only of its own jurisdiction, but also that of the lower courts in a cause under review” (internal quotation marks omitted)).

Accordingly, we vacate the district court's order and remand this matter to the district court with instructions to dismiss Happel's motion for lack of jurisdiction. We dispense with oral argument because the facts and legal contentions are adequately presented in the materials before this court and argument would not aid the decisional process.



Vacated and remanded with instructions by unpublished per curiam opinion. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit.

Copied to clipboard