Friday, September 08, 2006

District Court Cannot Rescind Resitution Obligation Under MVRA

US v. Roper: Roper and Butler (not a co-defendant, but the appeals were consolidated, apparently) were each convicted of various bank fraud charges and ordered to pay restitution. Both served prison terms and began their terms of supervised release. Both violated the conditions of their supervised releases, resulting in additional prison time. At the same time that the district court sent Roper and Butler back to prison, it made findings that they were unable to pay their restitution obligations and rescinded them. The district court also rescinded Roper's special assessment for the same reason.

The Government appealed, arguing that under the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act (18 USC 3663A and 3664), the district court at the original sentencings were bound to impose restitution obligations upon Roper and Butler and the mandatory nature of the MVRA did not provide for future rescinding of those obligations. The Fourth Circuit agreed and vacated the district court's rescinding of the restitution orders. The Fourth Circuit did the same for Roper's special assessment, also because it was mandatory and statute provided no means to rescind it.

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