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An appellate court may reverse a conviction even if the error was not properly raised at trial. The determination of whether there was plain error depends on the facts of the case.

To show plain error, a defendant must establish the following: '(1) error, (2) that is plain, and (3) that affects substantial rights.' United States v. Cotton, 535 U.S. 625, 631, 122 S.Ct. 1781, 152 L.Ed.2d 860 (2002) (internal quotation marks and brackets omitted). If these three conditions are met, 'an appellate court may then exercise its discretion to notice a forfeited error, but only if (4) the error seriously affects the fairness, integrity, or public reputation of judicial proceedings.' Id. 

An appeals court can recognize plain errors or defects affecting substantial rights even if there is no timely objection at trial. F.R.Crim.P. 52(b). See, e.g., United States v. Morales, 5 Cir., 1973, 477 F.2d 1309, 1315; United States v. Collins, 5 Cir., 1972, 472 F.2d 1017, 1018; United States v. Garber, 5 Cir., 1972, 471 F.2d 212, 217; United States v. Jacquillon, 5 Cir., 1972, 469 F.2d 380, 386. As the name implies, plain errors 'are those involving serious deficiencies which ...

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