Jump to content
chuckyg23

time limits on federal restitution

Recommended Posts

Does the sentencing judge have complete discretion as to how he imposes retitiution? If restitution is due immediately, does that have a 5 year time limit in acccordance with U.S.C. 3663, or does the restitution last until such time as the entire amount is paid.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This matter was before a Federal Judge and was a criminal offense, so I do not believe that it transfers to a civil judgment. If so, then it would be viewed as a lien and terminated after 20 years like all civil liens. Am I correct?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does the sentencing judge have complete discretion as to how he imposes retitiution? If restitution is due immediately, does that have a 5 year time limit in acccordance with U.S.C. 3663, or does the restitution last until such time as the entire amount is paid.

I assume you are referring to 18 U.S.C. § 3663, which authorizes the federal district court to impose restitution on the defendant as part of the sentence for the offense. That section, however, makes no reference to a five year time limit, nor does 18 U.S.C. § 3664, which provides the rules for enforcement of the restitution order.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This matter was before a Federal Judge and was a criminal offense, so I do not believe that it transfers to a civil judgment. If so, then it would be viewed as a lien and terminated after 20 years like all civil liens. Am I correct?

No. There is no statute of limitations on federal criminal restitution. They remain in full force and effect until paid in full and cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. U.S. Attorney’s Office, Financial Litigation Unit (FLU) will enforce orders of restitution and will ensure that civil judgment liens are recorded. Those liens remain until a full release is filed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No. There is no statute of limitations on federal criminal restitution. They remain in full force and effect until paid in full and cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. U.S. Attorney’s Office, Financial Litigation Unit (FLU) will enforce orders of restitution and will ensure that civil judgment liens are recorded. Those liens remain until a full release is filed.

In accordance with the Victims Witness Protection Act which is the qualifier in this matter, and under 18 USC 3664 (a) and 3663 (f),

US v Sleight (3rd Circuit 1987) restitution obligation is intended for repayment with 5 years. Does anyone disagree with this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Intended" does not mean "limited to" AND the provisions of the VWPA have been amended several times since the case you cited was decided.  The FLU will pursue collection until the restitution is fully paid, for no less than 20 years or until the death the defendant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In accordance with the Victims Witness Protection Act which is the qualifier in this matter, and under 18 USC 3664 (a) and 3663 (f),

US v Sleight (3rd Circuit 1987) restitution obligation is intended for repayment with 5 years. Does anyone disagree with this?

 

As I mentioned in my intial reply, neither 18 U.S.C. §§ 3663 nor 3664 place any limit on the time period for restitution. There is presently no subsection (f) in 18 U.S.C. § 3663, the last subsection in that section is (d). There had been a subsection (f) at one time, but it was eliminated by Congress in 1996. And if you read 18 U.S.C. § 3664(a), nothing in it imposes a time limit for repayment of restitution. It states as follows: 

 

(a) For orders of restitution under this title, the court shall order the probation officer to obtain and include in its presentence report, or in a separate report, as the court may direct, information sufficient for the court to exercise its discretion in fashioning a restitution order. The report shall include, to the extent practicable, a complete accounting of the losses to each victim, any restitution owed pursuant to a plea agreement, and information relating to the economic circumstances of each defendant. If the number or identity of victims cannot be reasonably ascertained, or other circumstances exist that make this requirement clearly impracticable, the probation officer shall so inform the court.

 

Finally, while you didn’t give a full citation to the case you mentioned, I assume it is United States v. Sleight, 808 F.2d 1012 (1987). That case makes only a passing reference to a five year limit on the repayment of restitution that existed at that time, i.e. in 1987. Congress subsequently amended the law based on successful constitutional challenges to other parts of the VWPA and as part of those changes the 5 year restitution period was eliminated. There is no longer any 5 year limit on repayment of restitution and that has been true now for nearly two decades.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While I understand that Congress amended the law based on the various constitutional challenges. However, in the case that I am referring to, the court's sentence occurred in September of 1996 before any of the amendments were passed by Congress.

Under that premise, wouldn't the language that was contained in the VWPA or 18 U.S.C 3663 at that time be relevant to the case that we are discussing. It seems to me that the amendments would apply going forward when the amendments were passed as opposed to retroactive back to 1996.It seems to me that the date in 1996 is quite important to this case that I am researching. I have been assigned this issue as a case study with my college buddies, so if you would lead me to that date in 1996, would be very helpful.

Thanks much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tax_Counsel provided you a link to the full statute which also lists all amendments.  Your premise that the "case" happened prior to any amendments is totally incorrect.  Had you looked at the full range of information at the link provided (which is the first thing someone doing "research" should/would do), you would note that the provisions of section 3663 have been amended multiple times both prior to and after September 1996.  More importantly the enacted amendment effective APRIL 1996, all reference to any limitations was removed. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you very much for your response. I am a very young guy with aspirations to become a criminal lawyer. As such, every piece of information provided at Find Law has allowed me to become better informed and dealing with knowledgeable people such as yourself. Thank you for your responses to my questions. I will do my research much better in the future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a friend who was convicted for tax evasion in 7/15/93 and was sentenced to 30 months and ordered to pay restitution on 9/15/93. He started serving his sentence on 1/15/94. He finished his sentence on 3/21/96 and started paying his restitution thereafter. He has been paying his restitution monthly since he left prison. When he left prision on 3/21/96 there was a 20 year term on paying restitution. That law was changed in April, 1996. I am under the impression that even though there is no time limit on the repayment of restitution, since he was both convicted in 1993 and left prison in March 1996, for him, there is a 20 year statute on the repayment of said restitution.

As I mentioned in my intial reply, neither 18 U.S.C. §§ 3663 nor 3664 place any limit on the time period for restitution. There is presently no subsection (f) in 18 U.S.C. § 3663, the last subsection in that section is (d). There had been a subsection (f) at one time, but it was eliminated by Congress in 1996. And if you read 18 U.S.C. § 3664(a), nothing in it imposes a time limit for repayment of restitution. It states as follows: 

 

(a) For orders of restitution under this title, the court shall order the probation officer to obtain and include in its presentence report, or in a separate report, as the court may direct, information sufficient for the court to exercise its discretion in fashioning a restitution order. The report shall include, to the extent practicable, a complete accounting of the losses to each victim, any restitution owed pursuant to a plea agreement, and information relating to the economic circumstances of each defendant. If the number or identity of victims cannot be reasonably ascertained, or other circumstances exist that make this requirement clearly impracticable, the probation officer shall so inform the court.

 

Finally, while you didn’t give a full citation to the case you mentioned, I assume it is United States v. Sleight, 808 F.2d 1012 (1987). That case makes only a passing reference to a five year limit on the repayment of restitution that existed at that time, i.e. in 1987. Congress subsequently amended the law based on successful constitutional challenges to other parts of the VWPA and as part of those changes the 5 year restitution period was eliminated. There is no longer any 5 year limit on repayment of restitution and that has been true now for nearly two decades.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Client is currently paying federal restitution.  He is being sued for sexual harassment.  Does the federal restitution order have priority over a civil judgment/settlement?  Thank you.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, RLG said:

Client is currently paying federal restitution.  He is being sued for sexual harassment.  Does the federal restitution order have priority over a civil judgment/settlement?

 

I'm not sure why you chose to tag this on a three and a half year old thread that has been dormant for over two and a half years.  Nonetheless...

 

What sort of client?  Are you a lawyer?  What does "priority" mean in the context of your question?  In what state is the lawsuit pending?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a criminal defense attorney and I have just been engaged to determine whether the client can do anything to lift a lien on real property arising from an ancient federal judgment of conviction. Contrary to the advice given above with regard to the duration of a lien recorded in connection with a federal criminal order of restitution, I believe that such a lien, unless renewed, is effective for at most 20 years. While there is no limitations period for collection of restitution, a lien arising from a restitution order "continues for 20 years or until the liability is satisfied, ..." 18 USC Section 3613. While this provision is ambiguous as to whether the lien remains in effect after 20 years if the liability remains unsatisfied, 28 USC Section 3201 (c) provides that unless renewed, a lien created under a judgment lien is effective, unless satisfied, for a period of 20 years." See also cross reference to IRS Code Section 6323(f).  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, etkl said:

I am a criminal defense attorney and I have just been engaged to determine whether the client can do anything to lift a lien on real property arising from an ancient federal judgment of conviction. Contrary to the advice given above with regard to the duration of a lien recorded in connection with a federal criminal order of restitution, I believe that such a lien, unless renewed, is effective for at most 20 years. While there is no limitations period for collection of restitution, a lien arising from a restitution order "continues for 20 years or until the liability is satisfied, ..." 18 USC Section 3613. While this provision is ambiguous as to whether the lien remains in effect after 20 years if the liability remains unsatisfied, 28 USC Section 3201 (c) provides that unless renewed, a lien created under a judgment lien is effective, unless satisfied, for a period of 20 years." See also cross reference to IRS Code Section 6323(f).  

 

You apparently did not read the prior posts carefully. None of them addressed how long a filed lien would attach to the property of the defendant. They simply addressed the issue of how long the restitution is actually owed and may be collected. I said that there is no limit on that, and you evidently agree that is the case.

 

As for the lien, 18 U.S.C. § 3613 says that that judgment is treated like a lien for unpaid federal tax. 18 U.S.C. § 3613(c). The only difference here is that, as you noted, the duration of the lien is for 20 years, not 10 years as in case of unpaid federal taxes. A federal tax lien may be refiled until the liability is either paid or the liability ceases to be enforceable. In the case of federal restitution, the liability never ceases to be enforceable so the government could keep refiling the lien until the restitution is paid. If the government should not refile timely, the refiled lien is still effective but loses its priority with respect to other liens that were perfected prior to the late refiling. I am a tax attorney and am very familiar with federal tax liens. Since the lien for restitution is treated like a lien for federal tax those same rules would apply to the restitution judgment, too. The sections you cited are fully consistent with that. Thus, there is no real limit on how long the lien may remain valid. The only issue after 20 years is whether the government has refiled the lien or not. If not, the lien would no longer attach to the defendant’s property. The government would need to refile the lien to attach the property again, and by doing it late it loses priority.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a criminal defense attorney and I have just been engaged to determine whether the client can do anything to lift a lien on real property arising from an ancient federal judgment of conviction. Contrary to the advice given above with regard to the duration of a lien recorded in connection with a federal criminal order of restitution, I believe that such a lien, unless renewed, is effective for at most 20 years. While there is no limitations period for collection of restitution, a lien arising from a restitution order "continues for 20 years or until the liability is satisfied, ..." 18 USC Section 3613. While this provision is ambiguous as to whether the lien remains in effect after 20 years if the liability remains unsatisfied, 28 USC Section 3201 (c) provides that unless renewed, a lien created under a judgment lien is effective, unless satisfied, for a period of 20 years." See also cross reference to IRS Code Section 6323(f).  

Edited by etkl
Please delete as duplicative of my previous post.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was responding to LegalwriterOne's comment in the 4th post that "those liens remain in effect until a full release is filed". As I stated above, and as you apparently agree, unless renewed, "those liens" are no longer in effect after 20 years, irrespective of whether a full release is filed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...