INTRODUCTION Consider an appeal of a criminal conviction pending before a typical three-judge panel of a federal court of appeals. The appeal presents the court with two issues: first, whether it was error for the trial judge to have allowed into evidence a confession that the defendant claims was coerced, and second, whether, assuming the answer to the first question is affirmative, the error was harmless or not. One judge, Judge Alvin, is of the opinion that the admission of the confession was error, but harmless error. Another judge, Judge Brooks, would rule that the admission of the confession was error, and that the error was not harmless. The third judge, Judge Carne, believes that the admission of the confession was entirely proper but also is of the view that, were the admission assumed to be error, the error would not be harmless. In other words, while Judge Carne would hold that the admission of the confession does not constitute reversible error, had the prosecution conceded that it was error and thus restricted the issue on appeal solely to whether the error was harmless, Judge Carne would rule that it was harmful.